ICYMI: Park City students demand change as hundreds ‘March For Our Lives’ (w/video) | ParkRecord.com

ICYMI: Park City students demand change as hundreds ‘March For Our Lives’ (w/video)

Students lead a crowd of several hundred people down Main Street during Park City’s March For Our Lives Saturday morning. The marchers chanted phrases like “Not one more,” and “Enough is enough.” (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

"Enough is enough." "Vote them out." "Save our students."

Those are some of the phrases the throng of people marching down Park City's Main Street chanted on Saturday during the March For Our Lives, as students, parents, teachers and community members gathered to demand that federal and state lawmakers implement more restrictions on the purchase of guns. About 1,000 people attended the march, according to preliminary police estimates.


The march, which was organized by students at Park City High School, was part of a nationwide demonstration of marches that took place Saturday. The idea for the protests came from students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and staff members were killed during a school shooting last month.

"To every politician who's accepted money from this organization, shame on you," said Teia Swan, one of the Park City speakers. "You are complicit in the murders of our children."

Lindsay Carreto, a sophomore at Park City High, said that she came to support the protest because she is ready for change. She, like many at the march, fears that a shooting could happen at her school if guns are not more regulated.

Sam Thompson, a teacher at Treasure Mountain Junior High School, said that he came to support "common sense laws put in place to protect our kids." He marched with his son, who is in seventh grade, and his wife, Liz Thompson, who teaches at Ecker Hill Middle School.

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"I get worked up about this because I can't imagine this happening to any of my kids — my own child or my students," he said. "I support the Second Amendment and people's rights, but I also don't want any more kids to die."

The Park City march began at the top of Main Street at 10 a.m. Students ranging in age led the crowd down the street and to City Park, where students from Park City High School and three survivors from the Parkland shooting spoke during a rally.

"They are one of us, and that could have been them," McKenna Pfahl said. "Them standing with us for the change, it's amazing. I think it's actually going to make a difference."

The Parkland students – Emily Burke and sisters McKenna and Logan Pfahl — were visiting Park City during their spring break and wanted to show support for the cause.

Following a musical performance of the song "Seasons of Love" from Park City High students Olivia Henry, Alex Renola and Josh Harmon, there was a moment of silence for all of the lives lost to gun violence. Then, students from both schools spoke about lawmakers taking money from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and encouraged attendees to demand change with their votes in this fall's election.

"To every politician who's accepted money from this organization, shame on you," said Teia Swan, one of the Park City speakers. "You are complicit in the murders of our children."

Park City High School students Serena Haas and Sadie Ortiz followed with a slam poem on the topic.

"Why have I become afraid of my own peers that I have grown up with? The cycle of media telling me that it is my fault that they shoot up the school because I wasn't nice enough?" they said. "Is it your right to own a gun or my right to not be shot?"

Following the event, the pair said it was powerful to speak to a crowd, since they often feel like youth's opinions are left out of decisions made about gun laws.

"We are the ones being affected as students," Ortiz said. "We are the ones waking up every morning and going to school. I still get scared when I hear the overhead (speaker). Nothing has happened at our school, thankfully, but I still get scared. I still think about it sitting in class."

Haas said that being able to voice her concerns as a high school student seems fair. She had tears in her eyes as she looked out at the crowd that came to support the students and listen to their cries for change.

The Parkland students finished the rally by speaking about last month's tragedy and how it changed their school and town forever.

Parkland survivor Logan Pfahl, center, speaks to a crowd of more than 1,000 in Park City’s City Park during a rally following the March For Our Lives Saturday morning, March 24, 2018. Pfahl was accompanied by two of her Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School classmates who are in Park City over their spring break. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

"It feels (like) just yesterday, I ran and hid in a closet scared for my life," McKenna Pfahl said. "I believed I was going to die, terrified I was never going to see my family again and there was nothing I could do about it. No one should know what this feels like."

She read the names of the students and staff members who died in the shooting that day, which Maya Levine, the main student organizer for the event, said was one of the most powerful moments of the whole day.

"It all sunk in then," said Levine, a junior at Park City High School. "I looked across the crowd and saw how many people were there, knowing any of their lives could be taken on any day because someone could walk in with a gun and shoot any time they like."

The Parkland students said it was incredible to be side by side with students, marching together and chanting "Douglas Strong" in unison to close the rally.

Emily Burke, from left, McKenna Pfahl, Sadie Ortiz, Serena Haas and Teia Swan hold hands and chant “Douglas Strong” together following the March For Our Lives and rally in City Park Saturday morning, March 24, 2018. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

"They are one of us, and that could have been them," McKenna Pfahl said. "Them standing with us for the change, it's amazing. I think it's actually going to make a difference."

Levine said she was impressed to see the amount of support at the march, which according to Park City Police Captain Andrew Leatham was free of incidents. But, she also said that the march is not the end of the students' activism.

"The fight isn't over," she said. "We're continuing to protest until Congress makes change."