Live Updates: March For Our Lives
Several cities in Massachusetts, including Boston, Worcester and Springfield, will join cities across the country March 24 holding marches and rallies protesting gun violence. WGBH News has reporters on the ground across the state, and we will keep you updated. Stay tuned for developments throughout the day.
4:55 pm: The marches and rallies across the state have wrapped up. We will now be closing our live blog. Thanks for following along. Visit wgbhnews.org or tune in to 89.7 for more news.
4:45 pm: Joseph Tortorelli, who provided the sound system for today’s March For Our Lives in front of Worcester City Hall says he did the same exact thing, in the same exact spot, for anti-Vietnam protests in 1968.
4:30 pm: Senator Ed Markey also joined Jim and Margery on Boston Public Radio today, from the march in Boston. He described what he was seeing: “You cannot see any part of the street that does not have people on it. As far as the eye can see on the left, and as far as you can see on the right, it is a sea of humanity protesting the NRA’s iron-clad grip on the Republican Congress.”
4:25 pm: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey spoke with Jim and Margery on Boston Public Radio today from Washington, D.C.
“This has been an incredible day, to be down here with such an incredible mix of people, of families, of survivors, of advocates in this space who have worked so hard for so many years,” she said. “Everybody coming together as one is an incredibly powerful moment.”
4:20 pm: Scenes from March For Our Lives Worcester:
4:10 pm: Papee Paye emceed the march in Worcester today. He is a high school junior. He said there was a shooting threat at his school a few weeks ago.
“Enough is enough,” he said. “It’s not [going to happen] overnight, but it’s going to happen, it’s bound to happen. We are the future, and we can change the future.
4:05 pm: There was also only a small handful of counterprotesters at the Boston rally. Here, a man and woman debate gun control measures.
4:00 pm: Conor Matthews went to the march in Worcester today as a counterprotester because he says he thinks people are misinformed. He wants to have a civil dialogue with those who are marching for stricter gun control.
“Their anger is completely justified, their disgust with guns is completely justified, but I think their anger is placed in the wrong spot,” he said. “The mass murders that they cite and talk about are far in the minority, and AR-15s are not the issue.”
Matthews said he counted only a handful of pro-gun counterprotesters in the crowd.
3:50 pm: Mara Pentlarge joined the protests in Worcester today. “People have been doing stupid things with guns for a long time, but now it seems that things might change,” she says. “This is so much fun, to see people who haven’t been out before, or young people who are saying things in a different way.”
3:50 pm: A student is speaking at the rally in Boston now about Congress’ failure to act. “In school we call that flunking,” she says.
3:45 pm: More scenes from March For Our Lives Boston:
3:20 pm: Joel Black has lived his entire life in Beverly and he is at the Beverly march. He felt the need to show up to his local event rather than a Boston-based one because he says it’s important support your local area, just as it’s important to buy locally if you can.
He’s not terribly optimistic that this will change anything.
“I think the legislators are not doing anything. I think the NRA has them in their pockets and nothing will be accomplished,” he said.
3:15 pm: From our reporter Phillip Martin, on the Boston Common:
3:10 pm: The crowd at the Boston Common today:
3:05 pm: Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang is on the Boston Common today. “I’m here to support the young people, period. They the ones leading this revolution,” he tells WGBH News. “We just need to stand behind them and let them know we have their backs while they lead.”
3:00 pm: Ben Ames is a senior at Beverly High School and attended the Beverly march today. He says he is optimistic about what impact the marches will have on tangible change.
“This country is made up of people and by people acting on change, change will happen, hopefully” he said.
2:55 pm: Boston Common is filled to the brim by demonstrators, who are also spilling onto Beacon St.
2:55 pm: A number of people on Boston Common are registering protestors to vote — including pre-registering 17-year-olds.
2:50 pm: In Springfield, teens speak specifically about women victims of gun violence. Madeline Choiniere Barr, 16, is a tenth grade student at Longmeadow High School. She says people don’t talk enough about domestic violence against women.
2:45 pm: The rally is starting now on the Boston Common.
2:40 pm: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez is speaking in Washington, D.C. Onlookers hold signs that say, “We’re with you, Emma. We call B.S.”
Toward the end of her speech, she pauses until a timer beeps, and then she says, “since the time that I came out here, it has been 6 minutes and 20 seconds.”
She ends her speech by saying, “fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.”
2:30 pm: A few points were made repeatedly at March For Our Lives in Beverly. First, that the post-Parkland push for more gun control has already had an impact. Second, that that impact is only going to grow as young people involved register to vote and run for office. And third that there’s an inherent tension between current gun policies and the right of students to get an effective, healthy, anxiety-free education.
2:25 pm: Events in Worcester and Hyannis have wrapped up, but in Boston and Springfield they are still going. On the Boston Common, the rally hasn’t yet gotten underway.
2:15 pm: From production assistant Brendan Deady, on the Boston Common this afternoon:
2:12 pm: Betsy Lambert, a 6th grade teacher from Mendon, Mass., in Springfield.
2:10 pm: The MBTA has reported that Boylston Station is closed due to crowds. They suggest using Park St. or Arlington Station to access the Boston Common.
2:05 pm: Protesters in Worcester chant, “Register to vote!” and, “I believe that we will win!”
2:00 pm: Boston Public Radio is live now, broadcasting from the Boston Public Library, until 3pm on 89.7. Jim and Margery spoke with Senator Markey:
1:55 pm: Trevaughn Smith, one of the organizers of the march in Springfield, says the group chose not to march in front of the Smith and Wesson headquarters.
“We’re not just targeting Smith & Wesson. We also want to see comprehensive gun control and safer schools,” he said. “We do believe as a march that Smith & Wesson should be, to a point, accountable for their actions. But we just also decided that there are also other contributing factors that cause violence and shootings in schools.”
1:50 pm: From our reporter Craig LeMoult, earlier this afternoon in Worcester:
1:35 pm: Scenes from March For Our Lives Boston:
1:25 pm: Desiree Leaston is in Springfield, Mass. with her 12-year-old son. She said they decided to come to Springfield today not only because she is originally from Springfield, but also because the gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson is based there.
“When we were growing up, you only had to worry about people smoking cigarettes, but now you’re worried about violence,” she said. “They need to be teaching kids, not worrying [that] someone’s going to burst through the door with a gun.”
1:15 pm: A few hundred people are on the Hyannis Village Green for the Hyannis March For Our Lives. Students from across the Cape, along with a student representative from Parkland have given speeches against gun violence. The crowd has mostly been calm and polite, cheering students on as they gave speeches, and representative Sarah Peake, along with Congressman Bill Keating, also showed up to say a few words of support.
1:10 pm: Protesters chant as they march from Roxbury to the Boston Common:
1:00 pm: Protesters march in Springfield, Mass.
12:55 pm: Jami Rubin, 21, graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. She is on the Boston Common today. Rubin said it was strange seeing her high school in the news for such a shocking incident.
“It was very surreal,” she said. “But, I mean, just the reaction from it has been incredible, and I’m very proud to come from there.”
12:50 pm: Protesters chanting in Washington, D.C. earlier this morning:
12:45 pm: There are about 500 people at Lynch Park in Beverly, which is right on the sea coast. More people are still trickling in. The speaking program started with the singing of the national anthem, a speech from a state senator urging the young people in the audience to flex their political muscle in the years ahead and a non-sectarian prayer.
12:45 pm: In Worcester, protesters chant “Let the youth speak!”
12:40 pm: From Adam Reilly, our reporter on the ground in Beverly, Mass.
12:30 pm: Liam Jenkins, 13, from Nahant, Mass., is on the Boston Common.
12:25 pm: The student organizers of the march in Springfield, Mass.
12:20 pm: Kelsey McKeon, 23 (left) and Devon McKeon, 19, from Basking Ridge, New Jersey, on the Boston Common. Devon is a freshman at Tufts, and her sister came to visit for the march. Kelsey says she wants to become a teacher. Her sweatshirt says, “I teach the generation that will save us all.”
12:15 pm: Congressman Bill Keating speaks to protesters in Hyannis:
12:10 pm: Protesters gather in Hyannis.
11:58 am: Richard and Nancy Daugherty have come to march on the Boston Common.
“I’m so proud of our young people,” Nancy said. Richard added, “We’re here to support them.” Richard said that many of the high school seniors will be turning 18, and he hopes they vote. “We’ve gotta change this,” he said. “I don’t think our country is this mean.”
11:55 am: Signs at the Worcester March For Our Lives rally by students from Oxford, Mass:
11:47 am: The MBTA says there is extra T service today on all lines. They also report that buses that have stops along the march route will be detoured and riders should expect delays.
11:30 am: Looking down Columbus Avenue.
11:10 am: Thousands are lined up for the start of the Boston march in Roxbury.
10:19 am: Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks with students ahead of the march in Boston: “Republicans and Democrats, young people and old people, want to see us make changes in our gun laws. Just a little basic safety, that’s what we’re looking for here. And we need to have a government that responds to that. So we’re gonna keep pushing.”
Saturday’s student-led events in Massachusetts are organized in conjunction with the national March For Our Lives protest in Washington, D.C., led by survivors of the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The movement has gained traction, and more than 800 “sibling events” are planned worldwide, according to the March For Our Lives website.
In Boston, students and other protesters will march from Madison Park High School in Roxbury to the Boston Common starting at 11 am, and a rally is scheduled to begin on the Common at 2 pm. The rally area at the Boston Common will open to the public at noon.
The Worcester rally will begin at noon in front of Worcester City Hall, and the Springfield event will begin at noon in Court Square.
Organizers of Boston’s march say that though Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, that’s not enough.
“We, the students of MFOL: Boston, are joining students across the country to demand that our lives are prioritized over access to guns,” they said in a statement. “We seek to amplify and emphasize the voices of communities of color, who are both disproportionately affected by gun violence and silenced in their calls for reform. We are organizing and mobilizing our generation to raise our voices and take action on gun violence in America.”