A large crowd gathered in downtown St. Louis on Saturday for the local "March for Our Lives" protest. St. Louis City Police estimate 12,000 people attended Saturday's march.
The march began at Union Station at 10 a.m. and headed east down Market Street toward the Arch.
Over 800 marches are being held around the country to call for the toughening of gun laws and demanding an end to gun violence and mass shootings in schools.
"When people have been talking about fixing the problem by having more guns in schools. We just think that's crazy…the kids think that's crazy," said John Bailey, a dad who brought his five kids to the March for Our Lives in St. Louis.
His family, along with many others, did not let the rain, wind and cold stop them from voicing their message. "We knew it was going to be kind of crummy weather, but we've got the signs covered in tape so they can stand up to the rain," said Bailey.
Demonstrators started the march at Union Station, walked towards the arch along Market St., and looped back around to end at Union Station to listen to speeches. One of the speakers was Liesl Fressola, a current Parkway School District teacher, who survived the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012.
"Survivors voices matter, and not just for ratings or scoring political points, people need to see the true effects of gun violence," said Fressola.
Participants hope the energy from March For Our Lives continues beyond one day. "I feel like there's a momentum that just needs to keep going," said Joanna Wolff, participating in the march.
Allie Liss, an intern at the Crime Victim Advocacy Center, says there is a renewed spirit for action, much of it feeding off the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“I think the fact is this movement is being led by high school students and students more broadly. This is the next generation of lawmakers, the next generation of young professionals and for these high school students, they’re up and coming. This is going to be them voting and them using their voices,” said Liss.
Haley Zink says she has grown up in a country where gun violence is normalized. She says the demonstrations are not just about school violence, but are more all-encompassing than that.
Some says there is a generation that is ready to flex its political muscle.
“The generation under me is the next big voting bloc. They’re bigger than the millenials and they’re really progressive and we have the ability to vote on legislation and change the things going on in our county right and going forward,” said Zink, who is a student at St. Charles Community College.
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