Students take the lead at Toledo March for Our Lives

Students take the lead at Toledo March for Our Lives
Students were well represented at Saturday's March for Our Lives rally (Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Across the nation, neighbors were gathering for March for Our Lives events.

Here in Toledo, thousands marched in the cold on Saturday from Promenade Park to One Government Center.

Many chants were heard throughout the day, but one of the most powerful was, "No more silence end the violence."

Many of the youth present have personally experienced threats made at their schools.

They're rallying, in part, because they've witnessed little to no action being taken to stop these threats, or worse, actions from happening in the future.

Montana Sharp of Whitehouse, Oh. Is a student at Anthony Wayne Junior High School where a serious threat was made earlier this year.

She later learned that it was from a boy who sat next to her in class.

She said the school emailed parents to let them know about the threat, but she does not know of any further action that has been taken.

For her, coming out to march with her mom was about getting the word out there.

"I get that parents are trying to stick up for their kid, but I don't think it's really effective without the kids voice heard," said Sharp.

Jeremiah Hunter was one of the leaders of the march leading chants into a bullhorn.

Hunter is a local teen who was chosen because of his commitment to change.

"I'm very happy about the people showing their support for us. and we are the youth. We are maybe 16, 17, 18, but youth have a long memory, and they will remember this, and they will remember all the shootings that happened recently, especially in Parkland, Florida, and if adults don't so anything now, we'll do it," said Hunter. "Our cries for help fall on deaf ears and this is one of the ways we can be able to be heard."

At 2 p.m. a rally was held where youth across our region spoke publicly about concerns like feeling safe in our schools, gun control, graduation rates, and feeling like they're not being heard by school administrators.

March Organizer and YWCA employee, Penny Tullis explained that kids feel like they have no one to turn to and speak with.

She said, school counselors are busy with things like scheduling and college admissions without much time left for actual counseling.

Tullis said this can be an issue that demands more attention locally due to the circumstances some kids helplessly find themselves in.

"In Toledo, some of them are homeless, some of them are facing all sorts of barriers, and they need more adults in their corner," said Tullis.

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz was in attendance with his 11 year old son, Will, he said to show him that you don't have to have gray hair to make a difference.

"These things keep happening and keep happening and keep happening. And so, the children of our city and our country have said, we're fed up with it. If you won't do it, we'll do it. And that, more than anything else, is the most inspiring thing I've seen in a long time," said Kapszukiewicz.

A diverse crowd of all ages held signs and chanted in support of these issues. No adults took the microphone.

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