As the March For Our Lives rally began at Downtown Doral Park Saturday morning, Carolina Angel, a mother of three, invited 17 students to the main stage. They placed 17 white roses inside a glass vase, each rose representing a student or educator shot to death at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.
“Not one more,” Angel said during her opening speech. “We are marching here with a purpose. We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students.”
Angel, an activist and organizer of the Downtown Doral March For Our Lives, has been an active member of her children’s PTA groups for seven years.
“The Stoneman Douglas students like Emma Gonzalez and the other kids who have been spearheading this movement inspired me to join them and organize the Doral sibling march,” she said.
Protestors took to the streets of Doral, marching south on Northwest 87th Avenue toward the corner of 36th Street. They chanted, “NRA, go away” and “End gun violence, no more silence,” to demand that their lives and safety become a priority to the government and that gun violence and mass shootings in schools end.
With more than 800 March For Our Lives events held worldwide, the event in Downtown Doral had over 1,000 attendees, according to Angel. She said that 752 people had made reservations online and others arrived unannounced, producing a bigger turnout than expected.
“It goes to show that there are still good people left in our world,” Angel said.
Among the attendees was Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez, who thanked Angel, her team and everyone who showed support for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students. Bermudez commended everyone in attendance for exercising their rights as Americans by using their voices and demanding to be heard.
Other officials attending included Susie Castillo, the Miami-Dade County School Board representative of District 5; Nancy Lawther, the Miami-Dade County PTA vice president of education; and radio personality Enrique Santos.
Students made speeches that reflected how the shooting affected them. Alberto Castro, a senior in Ronald Regan High School and finalist in “La Voz Kids,” sang his rendition of “For Forever” from the Broadway musical “Dear, Evan Hanson.”
Mary Kay Gaffney, an activist who has been a part of over 10 marches around the United States, said she hopes this march will put pressure on the Florida legislature, Sen. Marco Rubio and gun lobbyists like the NRA.
“I want to see that these mass shootings be stopped and that people would care more about our children’s lives than money going into politician’s pockets,” Gaffney said.