Denton’s March For Our Lives draws hundreds to Square to advocate for gun control

Denton’s March For Our Lives draws hundreds to Square to advocate for gun control

Denton’s March For Our Lives draws hundreds to Square to advocate for gun control
March 25
15:34 2018

Denton residents participated in a March For Our Lives demonstration from 4 to 6 p.m., Saturday, bringing hundreds of people to the downtown Square to advocate for gun control. While the “March For Our Lives” was originally organized by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors, Denton was one of more than 800 sibling marches that occurred around the world.

Parker Hicks, a recruiter and local North Texan, organized Denton’s march and sought out speakers.

“It’s been a bit of a headache getting all of this together but it is one of the most fun and exciting things I have ever done,” Hicks said.

Speakers ranged from students to parents to candidates for local office. There were more than 15 speakers who touched on a variety of topics including gun control and voter registration.

“If we’re already considering giving guns to teachers, we’ve already lost the battle and we need to start over,” Denton High School student Diamond Hugh said.

Andrew Morris and Mat Pruneda, both Democratic candidates for Texas House District 64, spoke about creating change in current representation. Pruneda said kids are learning their voices have value while Morris said the kind of energy at the march can enact change.

The audience chanted “vote them out,” after Morris and Pruneda spoke, referring to voting out current representatives in the upcoming midterm elections in November.

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Amber Briggle takes a picture of her daughter LuLu Briggle, a 5 year old kindergarten student, at March For Our Lives in Denton Saturday evening. LuLu holds up her sign in front of the pallet decorated with victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. Kathryn Jennings
[Photos by Kathryn Jennings and Ashley Gallegos]

“We cannot grow weary in this fight,” Paige Dixon, a mother and veteran said at the march. “Our children need us to demand common sense gun law reform. Our children need us to stop fighting amongst ourselves. Our children need us to be adults.”

Other speakers included parent Rebecca Boardman who said, “throw out the old blood and put in the new,” after encouraging the crowd to vote. Teacher Julia Mulvanny said arming teachers is the most illogical and frightening solution. Texas Woman’s University student Aleksandr Farwell said as a student, his “thoughts should be on homework, not the nearest escape route.”

Many protesters also criticized the National Rifle Association (NRA). Dianna Leggett, Democratic candidate for County Judge, said she was there not as a candidate but as a mother and victim of gun violence.

“The NRA does not have to rule the world,” Leggett said.

Following the procession of speakers, marchers circled the Denton courthouse, chanting a variety of phrases including, “lives not lobbyists,” “vote them out,” and “books not bullets.”

Hicks said he has never organized an event like this, but is an active member of a Denton vote group and attends political functions around Denton. He said he hopes the event will incite action among the attendees.

“The most important thing that anyone should take away from this event is that nothing changes if we do not vote,” Hicks said.“Register to vote, get a position, research the candidates and vote for change. What we’ve been doing hasn’t been working and our current elected officials aren’t doing enough, so vote.”

Gun Control Town Hall

An hour after the march at 7 p.m., local activists hosted a town hall at the Denton Training Center, where students spoke about gun control to city officials and attendees.

“We decided to just come up with a way that the students could feel comfortable and just share what they thought needs to be done,” said Willie Hudspeth, Denton NAACP president and one of the town hall organizers. “So, we found a venue and decided to do it.”

Hudspeth extended invitations to city officials, the sheriff’s department, the fire department and various education officials and administrators. Only two representatives showed up: Lt. Smith from the Denton Police Department and Capt. Holdsclaw from the Denton Fire Department.

“I’m here today to support our students, our schools, our community and our community resources in having a conversation about gun violence,” Prudence Sanchez, a juvenile defense attorney said. “School violence is a public health problem.”

UNT student Laura Von Rosenberg shared her thoughts on how she sees the issue of gun violence affecting communities here and across the nation through a spoken word poem titled ‘For Florida’ while speaking at the town hall.

We do nothing but hope that it will be the last

And time after time the flags fly at half mast.

Another nine students shared their thoughts at the town hall, speaking about gun control measures and voting. Hudspeth concluded the town hall by allowing the Denton Fire and Police Department representatives to speak.

Smith stressed that the officers train for active shooter situations while agreeing that a solution is necessary to protect kids.

“We have got to come up with a way to improve safety for everyone involved,” Smith said.

Featured Image: The lawn of the courthouse was filled Saturday evening as members of the community listen to speeches on gun violence in schools. Kathryn Jennings

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

Lizzy Spangler

Lizzy Spangler

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1 Comment

  1. gward
    gward March 25, 17:56

    If these young people continue to show this resolve, look out for what they will do. They get my support. UNT Alum BS ’87, MS ’88

    Reply to this comment

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