All eyes are on Washington as the survivors of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, lead massive crowds Saturday in the March for Our Lives.
But these rallies aren’t just happening in the US. Dozens of marches are taking place Saturday in cities around the globe, where Americans abroad and their foreign allies are lending their voices to the cause.
Wendy Tarpley-Naylor shared a photo of her 6-year-old daughter Ella at a March for Our Lives event. Tarpley-Naylor, who is from Georgia but moved to the UK in 2008, said she held her daughter as a baby after the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
Tarpley-Naylor said her daughter understands what happened in Newtown and has told her, “But they were only little kids! People who want to hurt others should not be allowed to have a gun!”
Moving to the UK changed her views on gun legislation, Tarpley-Naylor said..
“It took moving six thousand miles to a country where most police don’t even have guns, but I have done a 180 on common sense gun reform.”
Iida Keskinen, 18, joined the march in Denmark as an exchange student from Finland.
“I’m not American, but the phenomenon that has now become ‘the norm’ in the US has really shook me,” she said. “And I really wanted to make sure I had even a small impact in supporting this cause.”
“We live in a global world, after all,” Keskinen added. “No issue is only local anymore.”
Aiko Smith took a picture of her daughter Lucia, 6, holding a sign that read, “Your right to rifles. My right to life. Choose.”
Lucia is originally from Seattle and has been attending in school in Madrid, said her mother, who added that the girl will soon return to the US to continue her education.
“Because of all the mass shootings in the news over the last year, she worries about returning to the US and going to school there,” Smith told CNN. “Today was a way for her to get involved, to do something about gun violence.”
“As a child she’s not allowed a political voice through the vote, but schoolchildren have to face the brutal consequences of irresponsible gun policy and inept or impotent politicians. So it seemed important to give her a way to do something.”
Nathan Kawanishi, 25, took pictures of participants at a March for Our Lives rally in Tokyo. Kawanishi, an American, is visiting Tokyo for a few months.
He said he did not participate in the rally because he found out about it too late but wanted to witness “this amazing historic event” for himself.
“I admire the courage and strength of the students at Parkland, and fully support their movement,” Kawanishi said.
Victoria Toa, a 26-year-old American living in Australia, joined the march in Brisbane.
“I care about my home country and what goes on there,” she told CNN, “and I want y’all to know that even though we’re on the other side of the world we are with you in Parkland and (with) anyone else who has ever experienced a mass shooting.”
Diane Barnitt shared a photo of the March for Our Lives rally in the Italian city. Her eldest son, Wynn, graduated in 2016 from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Her other son, John, was at the school last month when the shooting happened and has become involved with the #NeverAgain movement.
“We had a family trip planned for a while to visit our eldest son, who is studying abroad in Rome,” Barnitt said. “We still wanted to be able to support (John) and the cause, so once we found out that there was a rally being held in Rome, we did not hesitate to sign up for it.”
Jen Wink Hays shared a picture of an older man and his sign at the March for Our Lives event in Paris.
“Thank you Emma Gonzalez,” it reads. Gonzalez is a Marjory Stoneman Douglas student who has become a high-profile activist for gun control in the weeks since the shooting.
“Listen to the children,” says a smaller message, tacked on to the bottom of the sign. “They know.”