Why These Moms Marched With Their Kids for Gun Safety
To date, there have been 17 school shootings in the U.S. this year, the most recent of which killed two students at a Maryland high school earlier this week. Fed up, teens—the primary targets of these tragedies—have emerged as new leaders of gun safety activism.
Today, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, and other Parkland, Fl., shooting survivors were among the thousands of demonstrators who attended the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C.
VIDEO: Emma Gonzalez Speaks at March for Our Lives in D.C.
Just one month since the mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High that left 17 dead, the student-led march—and its 800-plus gun safety sister marches across the globe—intended to put bipartisan pressure on Washington, demanding, "that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun [safety] issues," according to the MFOL website,
InStyle spoke with mothers and daughters who marched in N.Y.C. about why they took to the streets and what it's like to be a student in America now.
MOTHER TANYA RAKOWSKY, DAUGHTER NINA RAKOWSKY, SON LUKE RAKOWSKY, AND THEIR FATHER
“I think it’s really sad that adults are not taking action. Kids have to take this into their own hands and show adults how it should be done," says Tanya Rakowsky, mother of Nina and Luke (pictured above).
MOTHER SAMANTHA BROWN AND FATHER CODY BROWN WITH THEIR 5 ½ MONTH-OLD TWINS OWEN AND JACKSON
“We don’t want them going to school having to be scared. It should be a safe place. I don’t want them to even know that this was a thing by the time that they’re getting ready for kindergarten,” says Samantha Brown, mother of 5 1/2 month old twins Jackson and Owen (pictured above).
MOTHER KARA BUCY AND SON BECKETT
“This has been happening since I was in high school. I don’t want my kid to have the same experience,” says mother Kara Bucy, who's holding her 1 1/2-year-old son Beckett.
MOTHER ROBIN ALSTON WITH HER SON MAX ALSTON
“We did [the march] for [our children] because this is nothing we dealt with as kids growing up in New York in the ‘80s. Now we’re afraid for [our kids] to go to school. And, in 2018, for that to be the reality, doesn’t make any sense. On top of everything, we have black children. We have children of color. So there are other conversations that we’ve had to have with our kids—especially having a boy. [Gun safety] compounds all of the other conversations we've had to have. For their safety and awareness, those conversations have to be pretty blunt," says mother Robin Alston, who attended the march with friends and her 12-year-old son Max.
MOTHER AND PROSECUTOR AYANNA SOREST WITH HER TWO SONS
“I’m here to just protest against guns. [I want to see] stricter gun control and no more assault weapons for mass consumption. Guns, I think personally, should be done away with. We have a lot of gun violence in the U.S. in particular because of the amount of guns that are in the marketplace. It just makes no sense," says mother Ayanna Sorest, who attended the march with her two young sons (pictured above).
MOTHER CARMEN MELENDEZ WITH HER TWO DAUGHTERS CAMILLA AND CATALINA
“[My daughters] shouldn’t be worrying about guns in their schools or having teachers carry guns to protect them. They shouldn’t be scared to go to school, that someone is going to come out and kill them. That’s terrible. So that’s why I’m here,” says mother Carmen Melendez, who attended the N.Y.C. march with her daughters Catalina and Camilla.
“I feel like I should be able to go to school without worrying that I’ll be shot. I’m just trying to go to school to learn. A concern of mine should be my grades, not getting shot when I’m sitting in a classroom,” says Camilla John-Melendez after her mother states her frustration with the current state of gun safety in America.
MOTHER AQUILINA SIERRA WITH HER DAUGHTER VIVIANA AND HUSBAND MISAEL
“We want to support all the students,” says father Misael Sierra, alongside his wife, Aquilina Sierra, and their fourth grader Viviana. “It’s a reality that’s going in today’s world. And they’re going to have to learn. We cannot hide the truth. You see violence on TV, you hear violence in music, and even in cartoons. It’s everywhere.”
Viviana said, “I wanted to come to support all of the students that died in Florida."
MOTHER KIESHA SUTTON-JAMES WITH HER DAUGHTERS NOLA JAMES AND SHELBY JAMES
“My older daughter [age 12] and I consume a lot of political news and she’s pretty engaged in the conversation. We talk about all of these issues and how it came to be that there are so few restrictions on the movement of guns in this country. [I believe] the NRA flipped the narrative and somehow has convinced people that those who are in favor of gun control want to take away their guns. I’m not trying to take away people’s guns. I just don’t see why military-grade weapons should be on our streets and why every single gun in this country isn’t accounted for," says mother Kiesha Sutton-James, who attended the march alongside her daughters Nola and Shelby and friend Robin Alston.
MOTHER TRACEY ROSSOW AND HER DAUGHTER KAYLA JADE ROSSOW
“I believe that lives are worth more than guns,” says college freshman Kayla Jade Rossow, who attended the march with her mother.
“I respect that people need the second amendment. I have no problem with that. But the fact is, our founders did not anticipate guns like this when they talked about being able to have a militia. They were not talking about giving people AR-15s," adds mother Tracey Rossow. "This is a different time. People need to get their head out of their asses and actually pass some gun legislation and stop being afraid of the NRA. Because the fact is there are more people not in the NRA than in the NRA, and they need to listen to us.”
MOTHER JUSTINE KEIL AND HER SON ADAM MARCHING WITH HIS FRIENDS
“Enough is enough. I’m sick of crying every time I turn on the news," says mother Justine Keil, who attended the march with her son Adam and his friends. "It makes no sense, especially coming from England where [guns are] not legal. It’s a difficult conversation.”
MOTHER MAGGIE FRITZ WITH HUSBAND KWAKU DRISKELL AND DAUGHTERS BEATRICE, NORA, AND CAMILLE
“My three-year-old should not have to be doing active shooter drills in nursery school,” says father Kwaku Driskell when asked why he attended the March for Our Lives in New York with his wife, Maggie Fritz, and daughters, Beatrice Driskell, Nora Driskell, and Camille Driskell.
Maggie added, “I just feel like politicians are putting the NRA above all. And [the kids are] the ones who are suffering the effects of this. They’re the ones who are doing active shooter drills. My three-year-old did an active shooter drill last week. It’s terrifying.”