Hackensack Youth March: “See Us; Hear Us”

Today’s Hackensack march, with hundreds of people of all ages, was held in solidarity with the National March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. in response to the high school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida that killed 17 people, including Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, formerly of Woodcliff Lake, NJ.

Above NJ First Lady Tammy Murphy addresses the Hackensack crowd.

WHAT THEY WERE SAYING

STUDENTS AND A GREAT GRANDMOTHER

  • Maria Chowdhery 17 years old): “I’m here to stand up for the the injustice in the USA. We should not have to worry about safety in our schools.”
  • A great grandmother’s sign: “I march today to save my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.”
  • Sharif Hassan (16 years old): “Our voices have been neglected. I am here to be heard.”
  • Quinn Garrity (17 years old) “I plan on being a teacher so it’s a big issue. I don’t want teachers carrying guns.”
  • A youth from Washington Township: “For those Republicans who are taking money from the NRA, your time is up.”
  • Isabella Rojas (17 years old): “We as students, as a generation, believe adults have ultimately failed us. They were the ones who were supposed to keep us safe. We want the other side to know we are here, and we will stay until common-sense gun laws and reforms are passed.”

POLITICIANS

  • Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco: “It’s shameful that kids have to take to the streets in order not to be murdered. It’s time for the youth to be our leaders.”   (He is running for re-election.)
  • Rep. Josh Gottheimer (CD 5) : “There are moments in time that I feel are different. It gives me hope that we can stop this senseless violence.” Give the incumbent some credit. He has substantial enclaves of conservative voters, having lost his election in his 3 conservative counties, and won only in the larger, more progressive Bergen County.
  • U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer: “I’m here to stand up for injustice. You are saying, ‘See me; hear me. Don’t look away.’ People are starting to listen because you are standing up and marching.” (This man will be keeping track of Dem votes in the House but will need Republican votes to get good gun legislation passed.)

There are at least six bills in the State Legislature on gun reform, with a high probability of some positive legislation. There are also bills in congress where the struggle is more difficult.

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