MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – They came on foot, bicycles and buses. People of all ages and all walks of life taking part in Saturday’s March For Our Lives sister walk in Miami Beach.
The march, organized by students for students, is a call on legislators for tougher gun control and safe school measures in the wake of the deadly Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
Marchers assembled at Miami Beach Senior High. The event kicked off at 10 a.m. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, and former Mayor Philip Levine all addressed the gathering.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber and his 18-year-old daughter Hannah spearheaded the event.
“I’m on the Miami Beach Youth commission and a month ago we had a meeting where we decided this was a priority and we worked every day to make sure this march is happening today and it’s successful and brings as many people to Miami-Dade County as possible,” explained Hannah.
“Our kids are growing up in this active shooter generation. It’s so scary,” said Mayor Gelber. “It’s a real threat to them. It’s not something that’s hypothetical, they know these kids. They see kids that look just like them so they see it as real and I think because it’s real, they are standing up and saying this not something I learned in school, this comes from the heart.”
From the school, the crowd walked to Collins Park where speakers addressed the crowd including the Mayor, Marjory Stoneman Douglas high students Sofia Cheremeta and Nick Joseph, Emily Estefan, Flo Rida and Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho kicked off the march.
“Today is the day we have the chance to turn tragedy into triumph,” said Carvalho. “Today is the day when the adults make a decision to take a stand, we stand with them, we stand to protect them, we stand to walk with them. There is no middle ground.”
Participants walked from the high school to College Park just a few blocks away, then walked back to the high school.
“Every time you look into the eyes of a member of this generation just know you’re staring into the eyes of change,” said one student.
But it was the speech by Nicolas Joseph, a sophomore at Stoneman Douglas, who along with other students brought it home.
“I lost one of my closest friends and I can’t make those memories with him ever again and nobody should have to go through that,” he said. “They should never have to lose someone close to them, they should be able to continue making memories with their loved ones and I cant do that, so I just want to fight so no one else has to experience that.”