One of the largest single-day organized marches to take place in the United States spread to Central Florida as 7,000-10,000 citizens, by Orlando Police estimates, took to Lake Eola March 24.
The Valentine’s Day Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting has created a sustained effort to end gun violence amid mass shootings and media frenzies.
Rallies held from California to Texas, to Florida, to Washington, D.C., and New York shared one message to politicians: to be proactive in restricting access to certain weapons, if not firearms overall.
In June 2016, Orlando became the home of the deadliest shooting in the United States at Pulse Nightclub where 49 were killed and 58 injured. This title would be handed over in the following year to Las Vegas, with 58 dead and 851 injured.
Fifty-seven-year-old Winter Park resident Richard Tharp spoke to the Orlando Sentinel when comparing Saturday’s marches to those that erupted during the Vietnam War.
“This will completely make a difference,” Tharp said at Seneff Arts Plaza to the Sentinel. “It’s only the beginning and they will only continue to be heard. It’s the voice of a new generation.”
University of Central Florida students, some graduates of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, rode 17 hours on a bus from the Student Union bus stop to march in the nation’s capital.
Knight News reporter Megan Scavo reported from Downtown Orlando at the historic march. A photo gallery has been produced below: