Exceeding expectations, a huge throng of peaceful but passionate demonstrators filled the streets around the U.S. Capitol for the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C.
Addressed by teenage speakers from around the country who have been affected by gun violence, attendees rallied to demand legislative action.
While Washington, D.C. authorities have yet to give an official estimate, reports published by major news organizations put the crowd size at 850,000 people, which would make it the largest demonstration in the capital’s history. Among the day’s highlights:
• Andra Day and Common kicked off the rally with a performance of “Rise Up” backed by students from Baltimore’s Cardinal Shehan School Choir. Other performances throughout the day included Demi Lovato singing “Skyscraper,” Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt performing “Found/Tonight,” Vic Mensa performing “We Could Be Free,” Miley Cyrus performing “The Climb” as she held onto a “Never Again” sign, and Ariana Grande singing “Be Alright.”
• Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School junior Jaclyn Corin brought onstage Yolanda Renee King, the 9-year old granddaughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., who shouted to the assembled marchers, “I have a dream that enough is enough,” and then got the crowd to chant, “Spread the word. Have you heard? All across the nation, we are going to be a great generation.”
• Parkland survivor Sam Fuentes read a poem she wrote called “Enough,” and then led the crowd in a chorus of “Happy Birthday” for Parkland victim Nick Dworet, who would have turned 18 today.
• Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior Emma Gonzalez sat onstage in silence for 6 minutes and 20 seconds, the time it took for the Parkland shooter to kill 17 people.
• The crowd also heard powerful speeches from a group of students from Chicago—among them, Trevon Bosley (19), Alex King (18), D’Angelo McDade (18), and Mya Middleton (16)—about their experiences with gun violence in their communities.
• Naomi Wadler, an 11-year-old from Virginia, proudly declared “Never Again!” on behalf of black women and girls who have been the victims of gun violence. 17-year-old Edna Chavez, of south Los Angeles, lost her brother in a shooting and said she learned how to duck from bullets before learning how to read.
• Students from Newtown High School in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, presented a sign of solidarity to Stoneman Douglas High School.
• Stoneman Douglas High School students Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Pena performed “Shine,” a song they wrote after the shooting.
• Jennifer Hudson closed out the rally with a powerful performance of “The Times They Are A-Changin,” backed by a D.C. choir. As the student speakers joined her onstage, she led the audience in a “We Want Change” chant.
March For Our Lives had secured a permit for 500,000 people for Pennsylvania Avenue between 4th and 12th St NW. Law enforcement partners confirmed that the audience exceeded expectations with crowds extending well beyond 12th street and out further than Pennsylvania Avenue. The stage, located at 3rd and Constitution Streets, NW, served as the hub for the day’s rally. The entire rally was streamed live on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
More than 800 sibling marches took place in cities around the world, with stars such as George Clooney and Paul McCartney joining marchers. Other stars who showed their support for marchers included Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga.