Hundreds of thousands of ralliers from across the world — including Maine — are expected to mobilize Saturday to call for an end to gun violence.
Like many historical actions urging social change, Saturday’s “March For Our Lives,” organized by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, is being driven by young people.
“I don’t think anyone’s going to let up in my generation. Like, this is something as a whole we really feel very strongly about,” says Aurora Hodgdon, 15, a student at Sanford High School who is in D.C. with her grandmother to take part in the rally. “It happens so much in America you become desensitized to it, but this isn’t a normal thing around the world. There’s not regularly school shootings every week in any other country.”
Hodgdon’s grandmother, Michelle Hodgdon, 58, says while she remembers the very tail end of atomic bomb drills during the “duck and cover” Cold War years, she remembers her school years as relatively peaceful.
“To me it is mind boggling that we even have to talk about this. I don’t understand why it’s not an emergency situation, nationally,” she says.
Both say they want to see better laws in place to control the availability of deadly firearms.
More than 700 gatherings are taking place across the country, with dozens of solidarity marches planned across the world, on every continent except Antarctica.
In Maine, there are at least 15 planned rallies, stretching across the state from Portland to Presque Isle.
The largest event is expected to take place in Portland at 10 a.m. Participants plan to march east down Congress Street until they reach City Hall, where they will stop for a series of speeches.
Also at 10 a.m., in Bangor, demonstrators will march from Abbot Square, across from the public library, and to the Hammond Street Congregational Church, on High Street. A few miles away in Orono, a march will take place at the same time on the University of Maine campus.
Marches are also planned for Lewiston, starting at 11 a.m. in Kennedy Park; Brunswick, at 11 a.m. at the Town Mall gazebo; and Belfast, at 3 p.m. at the downtown post office.
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.
— BDN writer Callie Ferguson contributed to this report