March for Our Lives: Thousands gather in Chicago, D.C. for March for Our Lives 2018 rallies

ByEric Horng and Cate Cauguiran, Jesse Kirsch WLS logo
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Chicagoans join March For Our Lives
Chicagoans march downtown and in the suburbs in support of stronger gun control.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thousands descended on Union Park in Chicago, as well as other Chicago area locations, for the March for Our Lives event which aims to demand stricter gun laws.

According to organizers, more than 85,000 people attended the march.

The March for Our Lives was started after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last February when 17 people were killed.

The Union Park rally began at 11 a.m. The park is located at 1501 W. Randolph, boarded by Ogden Avenue on the east and Ashland Avenue on the west. After a series of student speakers, participants marched down the streets near Union Park.


Thousands descended on Union Park in Chicago, as well as other Chicago area locations, for the March for Our Lives event which aims to demand stricter gun laws.

At the March for Our Lives in Chicago, Eduardo Medel, a student at Jones College Prep and Young Urban Professionals representative, talked about his first experience with gun violence at a very young age. He said he feels inspired by his generation that will not rest until boundaries of race, class and geography are broken.

"This is not just a march, this is a movement," Medel said.

But Medel reminded attendees, "It's not us versus them... it's balancing the power that this democracy was founded on."

As he left the stage the crowd chanted, "Vote them out, vote them out."

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Thousands marched in and around Union Park on Saturday for the March for Our Lives event which aims to demand stricter gun laws.

Jalen Kobayashi, a poet and Whitney Young High School student, read from his poem about Chicago, "The Zoo."

Many participants in the march were victims of or had been affected by gun violence in the city.

"I've lost one too many students to gun violence," said Barnard Elementary School Principal Kathleen Valente. " I have seen one too many students injured, paralyzed to gun violence, and it needs to end."

Stephanie Stone, of Moms Demand Action, said her 14-year-old son was shot and killed in their home in Georgia in 2012.

"As I look around and see these kids, no matter what the color is, I see my son," Stone said.

Seventh grader Caitlyn Smith brought up the issue of violence against women and it's relation to gun violence. She said her 16-year-old brother suffered extensive brain damage after being shot in the head.

Before the Chicago rally, some Chicago students held a die-in at Stroger Hospital before joining the Union Park event. At 10 a.m., student leaders of Good Kids Mad City (GKMC) held a universal prayer and locking of arms to raise awareness about the lives lost to gun violence on the South and West sides.

Other marches were held in Glen Ellyn, Schaumburg, Downers Grove, Vernon Hills, Elgin, Frankfort, Skokie and Oswego, as well as Highland and Valparaiso in Indiana.

On Friday in West Humboldt Park, more than 200 students from Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy held their own March for Our Lives Friday afternoon along Chicago Avenue.

"Once Parkland happened it occurred to me and some other peers that violence and gun violence was everywhere, and in Chicago it's an epidemic," said Ella Carter, organizer of the march.


Busloads of Chicagoans made the trip to Washington, D.C. to join the national March For Our Lives Saturday.

A much larger, main march was held in Washington, D.C., where hundreds of thousands of people are expected to fill a nearly mile-long stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Father Michael Pfleger of Saint Sabina's Church lead a group of Chicago youth to represent the city at the national March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. Saturday.

"The one call I keep hearing our young people saying over and over is we will outlive you," Pfleger said. "And they will."

"We are the turn of the century," said Mya Middleton of Chicago, who spoke at the D.C. march. "We are the voice for change. We are the pieces to fix what America is falling short on. Make it happen!"

Young members of the Chicago delegation said they were at the march to represent Chicago youth who are impacted by gun violence every day.

"Forgetting about our race, our age, our gender, we're all uniting because of the value of life," said Diego Garcia, 16, of Brighton Park.

At the end of the rally, the stage was filled with students standing arm-in-arm.

"Together we unite to make a whole," said a young speaker. "Congress, politicians, you are the parents. Hear your children cry. We want to come home."

Speakers included several Chicago youth: Trevon Bosley, 19; Alex King, 18; D'Angelo McDade, 18; and Mya Middleton, 16.

In addition, there were musical performances by Jennifer Hudson, Common, Miley Cyrus, Andra Day and Ariana Grande.

Former President Barack Obama tweeted his support for the marchers on Saturday.

A group of Chicago students with an After School Matters program left Friday morning for the D.C. march.