HARTFORD, Conn. and NEWTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Across Connecticut, hundreds of people came together Saturday as a part of a national effort demanding Congress to act on gun control after recent mass shootings claimed countless lives.
The group, March for Our Lives, organized protests in more than 450 cities throughout the country, including Washington D.C. It was founded in 2018 by students in Parkland, Florida after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In Connecticut rallies were held from Hartford to Newtown; Newtown, a place that has experienced the impact of gun violence firsthand.
Jessica Eisele survived the school shooting that killed 20 students and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School nearly 10 years ago and spoke to a crowd gathered outside Newtown Middle School.
“I’m tired of seeing my friends and family scared to send their kids to school. I’m tired of seeing my own sister scared to go to school,” Eisele said. “These horrible experiences that have occurred in my life were preventable.”
Unfortunately, in the years since, the tragedies have continued from Parkland, Florida to Uvalde, Texas.
Ashley Hubner also survived the Sandy Hook shooting.
“If there has been no change to stop things like this from happening then why would it?” Hubner said.
Both young and old said they’re sick of fearing for their lives day after day.
“I’ve had enough. Have you guys had enough?” school bus driver Duncan Browne said to the crowd in Newtown.
They want Congress to take a hard look at the outrage throughout the country.
“Can you love your children just as much as you love your hobby?” Executive Director of the Connecticut Violence Intervention Program Leonard Jahad said.
“We must remind them that it is a priority,” Valli Pendyala of Future Leaders and Politics and a junior at South Windsor High, said to about 500 people outside the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford.
Lawmakers shared that same sentiment.
“They don’t want thoughts and prayers, they want their children,” State Senator Gary Winfield of the 10th District said.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal ensured the protesters, they’re doing what they can to improve the laws, as negotiations continue in D.C.
“Whatever we achieve, we need to build on it, do more,” Blumenthal said.
All these years after Columbine, the problem is not getting better, but today’s youth is going to make sure future generations are protected.
“The right to simply live your life is the most important thing and we must not stop fighting until that’s exactly what we get,” Grace Eurell, organizer of the Newtown March for Our Lives event, said.
Organizers stressed their work doesn’t end with these marches and urged people to register to vote.