The students who marched through the streets of Washington on Saturday and cried out for gun reforms are making history. They are following in the footsteps of the ’60s civil rights movement, one of the teen protesters said.
“The civil rights movement was started by teenagers,” said Tanzil Philip, a 16-year-old sophomore from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. “And here we are.”
Interviewed by CNN correspondent Dianne Gallagher as they trekked amid a sea of people, Tanzil called the experience “empowering” and he said “the vibe is positive because we’re making change.”
“Martin Luther King walked down these same streets as we are right now. It’s crazy that we’re doing the same thing that they did. We saw how that turned out. We’re hoping we get the same results.”
The civil rights activists of the 1960s fought segregation and discrimination against African-Americans and braved hostility and violence in the process. Their brave marches and sit-ins resulted in civil rights and voting rights laws and brought attention to the sharp disparities between white and blacks in American society.
Tanzil said the students want “gun control,” bans on assault rifles and universal background checks. He said mental illness is another important topic.
“We don’t want guns in our school,” he said. “We don’t want guns around us.”
Gallagher noted that students made change in Florida and that it will be tougher to do so nationally. How do they plan to go about that beyond the march?
“We’re just going to keep going. We have tons of support here.”