Normally sleepy on a chilly Saturday morning, downtown Baltimore streets were filled today with the sound of fiery speeches and spirited chanting as hundreds joined a national protest calling for stricter gun control.
Pegged to the latest mass shooting – 17 people at a Florida high school cut down by a gunman with an assault-style weapon – the Baltimore march, like others across the country, was dominated by young people.
“We shouldn’t have to fight for our lives,” “Protect kids, not guns” and “DO SOMETHING,” their signs said.
“NRA, Go away!” and “Not one more in Baltimore!” the marchers chanted.
One older participant was struck by the way she could hear a younger generation take up familiar calls for change.
“It was so great to hear ‘This is what democracy looks like,’ but in this higher pitch – all these young voices,” said Cynthia Zanti Jabs. “These kids are lighting a fire.”
Parents seemed to sense that a torch was being passed, too.
“I loved hearing one Mom explain the Bill of Rights to a kid in a stroller, the importance of the freedom to speak and to assemble,” Jabs said.
Several made the point that politicians ignore these young voices at their peril.
“Do your representatives accept money from the NRA?” one young man asked with his handheld sign, that included the link to a Washington Post story detailing contributions that members of Congress have accepted from the National Rifle Association.
Several marchers made the point that politicians ignore these young voices at their peril.
While some made their statements in Baltimore, other city residents participated in the “March for Our Lives” rally held today in Washington. (Mayor Catherine Pugh said the city was providing 60 buses Saturday for about 3,000 kids.)
Other area cities saw marchers turn in out, including Annapolis.
Here are scenes from today’s march, which traveled from the War Memorial Plaza through downtown to the South Baltimore side of the Inner Harbor.