Oxford will join cities across the nation and globe in advocating for an end to gun violence in schools with a locally organized March for Our Lives. The march will take place from 10 a.m. to noon in front of Oxford City Hall.
The nationwide movement was originally planned as a march on D.C., but quickly gained widespread interest at local levels after Marjory Stoneman Douglas students announced their participation following a shooting happening in their school in February.
There are reportedly more than 830 sibling marches happening around the globe Saturday, eight of them will be in Mississippi. The coinciding marches in the state have been organized by Mississippians in cities from Southaven to Gulf Shores.
One of the leaders of the local march, Oxford High School student Anna Claire Franklin, said that the main point of the march is to call attention to gun violence.
“It’s bringing awareness to an issue many have become desensitized to and letting our lawmakers on a state and national level know that the upcoming generations and anyone with common sense really, won’t stand by and allow the ease of buying firearms to be prioritized over the safety of our nation’s students,” Franklin said.
Franklin said she feels it is important for Oxford to take a stance on the issue and show its intolerance of gun violence.
“There is a march being held in Oxford because we have two bustling school districts with many passionate students who feel as if it’s time for a change,” she said. “We feel like it is time to use our voices and speak up for our right to safety.”
Stacey Smith, a member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Senses (MOMs) and one of the adult leaders spearheading the Oxford march, said people should participate in peaceful events like this to petition government leaders for safer public spaces.
“I believe it’s time for people to re-examine their personal, possibly selfish desire, to own fully automatic or burst fire weapons,” Smith said.
Smith said she and the group of local mothers believe Oxford’s sibling march to the national movement will prove the community supports its youth and acknowledges them as the future leaders they are.
Olivia Cohen, another Oxford High School student behind the march, said that knowing the Parkland shooting involved people her age terrifies her that something similar could happen here.
“After Parkland, I was honestly really uneasy, and it didn’t leave my thoughts for days,” Cohen said. “It’s still in the back of my head in this moment, which has helped my drive for helping plan this march.”
She said she has noticed people becoming desensitized to gun violence in the wake of so many mass shootings.
“I’m hoping that being part of this will create more awareness for this problem that our country is faced with and will ignite some sort of change from our country’s leaders,” Cohen said.
Cohen said everyone regardless of their political party is affected in some way by gun violence and because of that, everyone is welcome to attend the march and voice support against gun violence.
“Almost 200,000 students have experienced some sort of school shooting since Columbine, and we can’t just sit back and watch this problem get worse and worse every year,” Cohen said.