Two buses of Berkshire students participated in the March For Our Lives rally in Pittsfield on March 24, one of over 800 such demonstrations held Saturday in the nationwide movement to end gun violence in schools.
Chanting "books not bullets" and "enough is enough," the students joined several hundred demonstrators at the city's Park Square to rally in response February's deadly shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead.
"I believe that this is not an issue about politics," Losseni Barry '18 of New York City told the large crowd. "This is a human life issue."
Barry was one of several students to address the crowd at the rally and said the student-led demonstrations were about making change.
"I don't care about who's in office. I just don't want kids in my neighborhood dying. I don't want kids slain in classrooms. We're too young for this," he said.
Caroline Hogan '19 of Long Lake, Minn. also felt moved to speak at the rally. "Just two weeks ago the school next to my house was shut down because a student threatened to come in with a gun, and I was scared that my friends were going to go into school, and they weren't going to come out," she said. "I'm tired of being scared for my friends. This needs to end."
Students have led the latest effort to push Congress to act on gun control in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
In an interview with a local television station, Newport, RI native Peter Dunbar '19 said changing any guns laws should be a multi-step process.
"It's pretty unrealistic to go around and take firearms from people's homes, but what I see possible is to start making it much, much more difficult to purchase a firearm," Dunbar said. "Make there be a much larger educational process, larger background checks. It's time that we end these school shootings by preventing people who are mentally unstable from purchasing firearms."
Following the rally at Park Square, the demonstrators marched to nearby Pittsfield High School, carrying signs with slogans that included "Protect Our Future," "Arms Are For Hugging," "We Call B.S.," and "Bullets Are Not School Supplies."
"I'm proud that Berkshire students stood in solidarity with students around the country to support safety in schools and an end to gun violence," said Head of School Pieter Mulder, who attended the rally with students and his family as well. "By participating in the march today, they added their own powerful voices to this important national dialogue."
Local coverage of the Pittsfield #MarchForOurLives:
Click here to read the Berkshire Eagle's article, including photo gallery.
Click here to read the Berkshire Edge's article, including video of the speakers and the march to Pittsfield High School.