San Jose Students Ready to March Against Gun Violence

Silicon Valley students will descend on downtown San Jose rain or shine on Saturday as part of a worldwide day of protest against gun violence.

Spearheading the local rally is March For our Lives San Jose, an organization led by students from Prospect High School in Saratoga. The young activists decided to take banded the group together in response to the Feb. 14  shooting in Parkland, Florida, that claimed the lives of 17 people.

The upcoming march builds on the momentum of the National School Walkout last week, which was called the biggest student demonstration since the Vietnam War.

Prospect High School senior class president Hiwad Haider said they got a lot of help from organizers of the San Jose Women’s March, but stressed that March For Our Lives San Jose remains a “student-led grassroots movement” against gun-violence.

“We envisioned a march and impact that’s similar to theirs,” he said. “We hope that the [march] is not a one-and-done, [but] a vehicle for student led efforts.”

Although though part of a nationwide demonstration, this weekend’s march from City Hall to Arena Green Park has been organized by local students with money donated through their GoFundMe account.

Students make signs at the Billy DeFrank Center ahead of Saturday's protest. (Photo by Stephen Perez)

As of Wednesday, they managed to raise just over $23,000 toward their $30,000 goal to pay for supplies, food and other items. Haider said the organization is a registered nonprofit, and the donations are tax deductible.

This past weekend, student volunteers convened at the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center to make signs and otherwise prepare for the upcoming march.

The gathering came right after an education town hall hosted by state Sen. Jim Beall, who pitched some ideas for securing schools and curbing gun violence by offering services to address the mental health of students. Lincoln High School student Hazel Stange attended on behalf of March For Our Lives San Jose.

“I support the idea, but I think when we get into the specifics things get a little more complicated,” she said. “There’s not a lot of money for public schools—and that’s the bottom line. When we hire these professionals that they’re there long term, can afford their rent and stay here, and be the best professionals they can be.”

Stange said her activism is focused more on keeping guns away in the first place.

“I come from a family of conservative Republicans, so really getting the message across that we’re not anti-gun, we just want bigger restrictions on them,” she said. “[We need] to make sure that they fall into the hands of people who are owning guns for the right reasons, going to people who are in the right mind, and who are able to really be responsible for that gun.”

The March for Our Lives mission statement emphasizes its non-partisanship:

Horrified by ongoing gun violence nationwide and heeding the call for action, we are local high school students working to bring attention to the need for more comprehensive gun laws, particularly for the purpose of school safety. After the shooting in Parkland, Florida, it is clear that tragedies like this could happen anywhere and that lawmakers need to act now. Making students feel safe in school is not, and never should be, a partisan issue.

Haider noted that he and his schoolmates plan to advertise the march by going into participating social science classrooms at Prospect High to talk about their experiences organizing the event.

“Not only are [we] trying to be contributing citizens,” he said, “it’s for a cause we think concerns [students], no matter what their political preferences are.”

The fledgling coalition has also been garnering support at various events, including the Santa Clara County Democratic Club, which allowed March for Our Lives set up a table at a recent candidate forum. Meanwhile, various local officials have been reaching out and extending their encouragement.

Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) stopped by one of their events this week to tell them to keep up the fight. He also reminded them that while California has some of the strongest gun laws in the U.S., the impactful reform needs to come from the federal level.

Students who missed the event at the Billy DeFrank Center last weekend are invited to attend a 6pm meet-up at Hicklebee’s Bookstore in San Jose, where author Sara Saedi will talk about her experience as an undocumented teen after another sign-making session. Click here for more info.

WHAT: March For Our Lives San Jose
WHEN: 11am Saturday
WHERE: San Jose City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
GETTING THERE: VTA light rail or buses; Lyft is also offering marchers free rides
INFO: Check out the March for Our Lives Facebook page or find them on Twitter

The sign-making party was organized by Prospect High students, the same group that's behind March for Our Lives San Jose. (Photo by Stephen Perez)

15 Comments

  1. > San Jose Students Ready to March Against Gun Violence

    “San Jose Students Ready to March Against The Bill of Rights”

    There. I fixed it for you, Stephen.

  2. The court system loses money the police system loses money they have to go to work everyday too lol . They should know what laws would stop what crimes there the professionals. It’s almost like the 4th amendment is already secretly working against us behind our backs in manipluituve way lack of knowledge on the people who are only civilstions . I think the government is taking advantage of us giving us these choices that the human complex can’t Handel they don’t want us to find out there really aliens out in space Donald trump is a show to waste time cnn drama condolences

  3. Go students! Maybe this generation can actually enable regulations to reduce the availability of weapons of war to individuals, thereby lessening the incidence of gun violence. And, at the same time, refocus our elected officials on the greater good and wean them from their financially-driven obedience to the NRA.

    • > Go students!

      It never seems to occur to these people that the reason they are students is that they don’t know anything.

      > Maybe this generation can actually enable regulations to reduce the availability of weapons of war to individuals, thereby lessening the incidence of gun violence.

      Dear Students:

      This is a dumb idea. As a homework assignment, explain WHY this is a dumb idea.

      Extra credit if your response is spelled correctly and typed.

    • So you’re Ok with killing people with non weapons of war? Like car bombs, hijacked airliners, pressure cookers filed with match heads?
      Last time I looked it was still against the law to kill anyone unless your defending yourself. Even stupid criminals that don’t care about another stupid law will find some other way to get the job done if that’s the intention. No Guns No problem, We have baseball bats, and rental trucks.

  4. Fun to watch young people say there are going to “change things.” Idealism is a fine thing – just not so grand when not really focused. there are 11 teen deaths every DAY due to texting and driving – – should we enact laws to ban Iphones and cars? http://www.textinganddrivingsafety.com/texting-and-driving-stats
    Odds are that someplace in the US on this grand march day – at least one or two teens will excitedly be texting/driving and then meet the Grim Reaper – – close cousin of Stark Reality.

  5. Hey Students. Good Luck. I marched to end the War in Vietnam in the ‘60s and ‘70s and the tide of public opinion shifted and helped end the war. Let’s hope your march helps end gun violence in our country. Good Luck!!!

  6. The alternative to the Second Amendment is a Government Gun Monopoly:

    [ ]<— Second Amendment

    [ ]<— Government Gun Monopoly

    • Americans are brainwashed programmed to believe that a gun protects them it’s known statistics that most people don’t even fight back with guns when attacked it rare thing .. look up percentages of gun used in defensive manor it’d actually rare for a victim to shout back and it escalates the situation of two guns are meet sometimes people say it make it where it’s a stalemate draw where the person is scared

  7. > San Jose Students Ready to March Against Gun Violence

    People who are too immature to be competent to vote, drive a car, serve on a jury, be tried in the adult justice system, enter into a civil contract, get married, or buy a gun are going to tell US that we need to rescind the Bill of Rights?

    Go clean your room.

  8. I didn’t know how creepy guns are Most of the murders that happen in the United States are unsolved 64 present are solved in the us . Chicago has 23 % clearance rate New orkeans 34 % . If it stranger on I’m stranger it’s usually hard to figure out . Trinidad’s tabgo the clearne rate is like 15 % the gangs are more powerful then the police just look at south countries . If you wear a mask . And no lisence plate it hard to figure out the police have been sitting around to much they need to fix this. Had city cameras cameras on freeways . DNA database is only for offenders maybe police should add Dna swab when pulling people over to add to data base instead of only prisoners

  9. To stop guns
    1. Stricter guns laws in border states popular city’s reduce gun trafficking. Arizona Nevada Minneapolis
    2. To purchase gun must take program class more difficult test. iq in-house class . “The test is to easy to get a gun a retard can past the test it’s a joke 20 questions stupid “ it’s like getting a B.B. gun. Moral character
    3.back ground check mental health /ban assault weapons for war. No one should be god. Can’t be gang affiliated on background check
    4.no armor piercing bullets only slugs.
    5 . Just take away guns I can’t even leave my house anymore without fear

  10. Criminals are tipcally from section 8 or the east side of every city also stop Mexico drug cartel new laws in Mexico / foreign support . Have a more police presences on those sides of the city . I see a lot of public drug markets . Also they don’t enforce green red light violations because it could bank rupt lower class people. With one ticket . I think we’re in a really big adjustment from the 80/ crack epedemic I feel like I’m In the wild west mask robbery . Genterfication going to wake up everyone also legalize marijuana stop drug war peaceful

  11. I’n san Jose I see Mexico cartel operating along side freeways in Morgan hill they all drive the same car white jeep and sit along the freeway and the police do nothing I could be wrong

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