Youths across the United States mobilized to say Never Again to gun violence. Among them, at a New York City demonstration that drew in the hundreds of thousands, were some 20 high-school students from Saugerties and an equal number of adults, not all of them parents.
The crowd on New York’s streets was estimated at 200,000. The march slogan, “March for our Lives,” appeared on printed banners and the huge television monitors that broadcast scenes from other marches and statistics on gun violence.
Leading the Saugerties group was Alana Trees of Saugerties, a junior at Saugerties High School. “I thought as students, we should do this,” she said. “Marches [across the country] were organized by students” Trees said she began organizing shortly after the shooting on February 14 of 17 students and faculty members at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Marches were organized by students, Trees said. That is one of the outstanding factors in this nationwide movement. “We [in Saugerties] thought we should do this.” Trees said she and other students did all the organizing. Her parents’ role was confined to holding the money for bus fares and turning it over to the bus company.
Saugerties student organizers were encouraged by the hundreds who participated during the national walkout, even though they remained in school for their rally. “Originally, we were going to walk out,” said Emily Christiansen, a junior. Instead, she participated in the inside-the-school rally, which she found inspiring. Christiansen said she and other student organizers were unsure of how many of those who participated in the in-school rally would make the trip to the city.
About 20 students signed up for the New York City run, with an equal number of adults, not all of them parents. The adults said they were generally impressed by the seriousness and organizational ability of students, especially since this was the first time many of them had demonstrated.
Trees and Christiansen said that they would demonstrate again if and when the need arose.