While awaiting for the president to pass by the rally in his motorcade, protestors hoped that March For Our Lives would inspire change on many different fronts.
Danielle Fernandez, a mother of two, attended the rally with her family to show their support for Marjory Stoneman Douglas students.
She said she wanted the rally to be a space where minorities could be heard.
“I think there is a bit of privilege with the socioeconomics of Parkland as well as the color of the students’ skin there,” she said. “As an African-American mom of blended kids, I am more worried than ever for my kids. So in whatever capacity a voice can be lent to amplify minority voices, I’m here for it.”
A mix of ages attended the West Palm Beach march. Many older adults applauded the the younger generations and said this kind of activism was similar to the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
Richard Cohen, a retired public school teacher from Philadelphia, said he was proud of what he saw and was happy to be a part of another potentially historic moment.
“I started teaching in the great civil rights era, so I’ve pretty much seen it all,” he said. “The civil rights movement was so important and necessary, but we still haven’t reached a resolve with that issue. So, I’m hoping this will push America to begin to listen to minorities as well. But this is a great start to the conversation.”
The rally was held at Dreher Park was positioned to be as close as possible to President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach country club, Mar-a-Lago. Protestors were allowed to go as far as the bridge that connects West Palm Beach to the island.
Megan Bell, an activist who has participated in multiple marches in the West Palm Beach area, held a sign that read: “Black Lives Matter.” She said she felt that the Parkland students were very clear in helping to amplify those minority voices.
“The kids that are heading this movement said that their school is 25 percent African American, and the media was doing a poor job of representing those students,” She said. “It’s awful, what’s being done to silence African Americans. Black leaders and even everyday people have been talking about this issue for decades and have been completely ignored and treated like thugs instead of protestors.”
Bell said the difference between the March For Our Lives and Black Lives Matter protests are massive.
“I went to a Black Lives Matter protest a few months ago, and honestly I can say that I was so scared for my life,” she said. “The police were so much more aggressive, and they were rolling up on us on ATVs. But I felt it was important to be an ally to the black community and speak to this issue. I know I’m white and this is not my issue, but if the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas can use their power to amplify voices, so can I.”