March for Our Lives San Jose: ‘There’s Too Much Gun Violence’

Thousands of students, parents, teachers and allied community members on Saturday endured the rain for the San Jose March for Our Lives rally against gun violence. The local demonstration was one of more than 800 protests nationwide, which collectively drew more than a million people in a call to reform U.S. gun laws.

More than a month after a mass shooting left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the survivor-led March for Our Lives movement has become a force to be reckoned with. And, as evidenced by the rally that traversed from City Hall to the Arena Green this weekend, it’s taken hold here in Silicon Valley.

San Jose Inside spoke with some of the marchers. Here’s what they said. (All photos by Kristin Lam, unless otherwise noted).

Zarha Ali (second from left) coordinated Silver Creek High School’s walkout on March 14 and said it was nice to see the crowd supporting the San Jose March for Our Lives.

“As a student, I think it’s really important that we shouldn’t be going to school and fearing for our lives,” Ali said. “The main reason for this is to stop the nonsensical violence in this country because it’s just gotten out of hand.”

Ankita Bhat (left), 17, came to the march with her friends from Santa Teresa High School.

“We’re scared,” she said. “We’re tired of having to be worried every time there’s a loud sound or someone comes into our classroom. And we keep hearing about these things happening and nothing is changing. Reform is not happening. Politicians are being paid by interest groups like the NRA and they continue to be silent. We’re so tired of having to worry about being the next victim.”

Christopher Tachang (left) and Julie Nishikubo (right) also marched from San Jose City Hall to Guadalupe River Park.

“I feel that this is a multi-faceted issue that’s unfair to blame on an already stigmatized and exploited population like the mental health community,” Nishikubo said

April Craighead, 19, said she joined the march for common-sense gun laws.

“There’s no use for AR-15’s and semi-automatic rifles in the community other than to kill people,” she said.

Wan Chyi (left) and Nicholas Green (right) said they’ve felt passionately about gun violence for a while.

“There’s too much gun violence in this country,” Green said, holding a sign that declared #NeverAgain. “This is the first time it feels like there’s a movement that’s actually meaningful is taking place. So we want to be a part of that.”

Elizabeth Kerridge, who teaches at Taylor Elementary in Oak Grove School District, said she joined the march on behalf of her students.

“I’m a little tired of having to do hour-long lockdown drills with my 7- and 6-year-olds in my first grade class,” she said. “I don’t believe anyone should be armed at my school. It just invites trouble. And I really don’t want to worry about who’s gonna pay for my gun training when I still don’t have enough paper for my class.”

Thomas Ngo Aquino (left) and Patrick Ngo Aquino (right) said they feel nothing is being done to address school safety and gun violence.

“I’m so moved watching everyone,” Thomas Ngo Aquino said. “It’s just so inspiring — even in the rain — everyone is just coming up and showing up. I think we need more voices supporting it, and I want to be one of those voices.”

Monica Holzer joined the march with her daughter.

“I just want to support the kids who are speaking out against the use of guns,” she said. “And I really want to protect our kids, so I want some changes.”

Suzanne Usiskin marched with her dog, Spike Lee (above) because she’s “totally for this never happening again. What happened in all the schools.”

Irvington High School freshman Mashel Khan (left) and her sister senior Mahnoor Khan (center) said they came out partially for their younger sister (right).

“I don’t feel like people should be afraid when they go to school,” Mashel Khan said. “I don’t want to be afraid when I leave my house. And for [our sister].”

Ladonna Silva and 10-year-old Billie Frazzitta said they represent two generations united behind a common cause.

“I am inspired by our young people stepping up and taking a stand,” Sila said. “So I’m here in support of making positive change.”

“I wanna help and I want to fight too because I am a part of this,” Frazzitta added.

“We think that it’s very important to stand in solidarity and it’s our civic duty to take action and demand change for our fellow students,” said Ruchira Rao (second from left), a student at Presentation High School.

“I’m here for children and for Black Lives Matter,” Jasmine Calderon said, gripping a smudge stick of burning sage, a sign of cleansing. “For all the women, all the deceased we’ve lost to guns. I’m here on behalf of my mother who’s a teacher and a tutor. For all her children. I’m here for all the friends that I’ve lost due to gun violence. Family members who have been prosecuted on unlawful guns. I’m here for everybody.”

At the end of the rally, Hiwad Haider, Prospect High School senior class president, told the crowd to continue conversations about ending gun violence.

“Let us take the dialogue to our campuses,” he said, “our places of worship, our workplaces, our airplanes as they fly above us, our dinner tables, and most importantly, take it to the offices of the lawmakers who are equipped to do something about it.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) said the student-led movement will “lead our country in a better direction.”

She also referenced a pin on a her blazer with a red “F,” which stood for her failing grade from the NRA.

“I hear a lot of lame excuses in Congress, about why we can’t do something sensible about gun violence,” the congresswoman said from the podium. “I hear that the best way to deal with a bad guy with a guy is a good guy with a gun. You would think that after Las Vegas, that they would be ashamed to say that.”


  1. I would like to ask each and everyone of the protesters what EXACTLY they would do to curb gun violence. Then tell me how you are going to get drugs off the street, then the people who rape others…

    It ain’t going to happen. Only the people who shouldnt have guns, have guns.

    Take a look around you those politicians who are, shouldn’t be politicans. Maybe you can fix that as well

    Our government even sent guns to Mexico to the Cartels.

    • Ban Military Weapons:
      No one needs a rapid-fire, high-capacity weapon (be it semiautomatic pistol or rifle) for hunting or home defense. No grandfather clauses. All existing military weapons to be turned in. Punishment for possession significant. Americans can debate if owners should be compensated.

      Personal defense and hunting is achieved with:
      – A revolver
      -A shotgun
      -A bolt-action rifle
      Second Amendment? Check.

      Repeal the Dickey Amendment. Allow CDC and all Federal agencies to study gun violence.
      Nationwide electronic firearms database.
      100% background checks on ALL purchases and transactions (family, friends, shows, EVERYTHING)
      Ban “bump stocks” and any other device designed to obviate federal and state gun laws.
      Fully fund agencies tasked with getting illegal guns out of the wrong hands. (CA has over 20,000 illegal guns out there that we know of – but no funding to do anything about it.)
      Two cops in every school. Locked doors don’t stop shooters.
      Do NOT arm teachers. Ludicrous proposal (at best).
      Federally-mandated nationwide safe-storage requirements. ALL firearms in vehicles must be SECURELY locked inside.
      Enact and enforce penalties for allowing a firearm into the wrong hands.
      All “lost” or stolen firearms require documentation.
      ATF full power to pursue gun traffickers. Pursue and punish “straw purchasers.”
      Tax gun and ammo sales to pay the high cost of gun ownership in the USA (currently $2.9B/year).

      There’s a quick list for you.

      I could go on, but would it really matter? Most gun nuts can’t possibly approach gun ownership sensibly, so I don’t know why I’m wasting my time.

      • > I could go on, but would it really matter? Most gun nuts can’t possibly approach gun ownership sensibly, so I don’t know why I’m wasting my time.

        Good. We’re making progress here.

        Finally got the message through to at least one anti-gun nut.

      • Dude, I love that handle!
        You solution worked so well for those Jews in Germany, Joe Stalin in Russia, Pol Pot in Cambodia, Mao in China, Ho in Vietnam, I just can’t imagine what Hillary or Bernie could achieve here in Amerika!
        Out of my cold dead hand!

        • > Joe Stalin in Russia,

          Speaking of kindly Uncle Joe, I highly recommend a recently released boutique movie recently screening at the CineArts Theatre at Santana Row:

          “The Death of Stalin”.

          If you are fans of sardonic “dark comedy” and remember anything about the “cold war”, this is your cup of tea.

          If you are a millenial and don’t know squat about communism or the cold war, you will still love this movie because this is the absurdity of office politics at its most vicious and dysfunctional.

          After you see this move, you might discover that you are secretly a fan of Marshall Georgy Zhukov, head of the Soviet Red Army:

          “I took Germany. I can take a flesh lump in a waistcoat.”

      • Military weapons are already banned.

        You appear to be “Chicken Little” running around because the sky is falling. Is this happening in shall issue, open carry states? Nope. At gun shows? Nope. Soft targets? Yup.

        Do not dictate what one should and should not have. No one is asking for mortars and tanks. What one prefers for home defense. You may fall prey and watch what happens to you, your family and your property, hoping SJPD has units available. Many of us have an option, get away from my family and property or suffer the consequence. You opt for being a victim, that’s fine, we can read about it in the paper.

      • AND Bike Dude I don’t know why you are wasting your time either. You could make better use of your time by educating yourself as to the fact that gun violence has actually dropped since 2001. The fake news and people like yourself that tend to follow everyone else around like sheep in a flock. Get out of the flock and do your own research. You might learn something….

    • Thanks Ron, well put, but these protesters and others like them do not have a concept of what gun violence is about. It’s not about the guns, although I do not understand why automatic weapons need to be on the street. It appears the protesters have lost the fact that all of the shooters have a screw loose and the gun was an end to the means. Just look at the laws on the books, they’re mind-boggling and address just about every issue. Diane Feinstein (one of our illustrious Senators, who’s 83 or more and has to leave bread crumbs to find her way home) has put a bunch of laws on the books that just about make it impossible to buy or have an automatic weapon. I do not see one, not one sign that talks to gun violence involving gang members, felons or other bad guys who could care less about laws involving guns. In fact, some of the mass shootings had someone else buy the guns that were used. Perhaps these protesters now that they are motivated can really educate themselves about guns. Perhaps they’ll even investigate why a sitting president and attorney general gave all kinds of guns and weapons to the Mexican Cartels for free. What?? Perhaps they’ll take a little time and investigate El Salvador where 6 people are killed on the streets of San Salvador a day, and that’s just one city. The scary thing to bring up to the protesters is the fact that 99.999 percent of the guns come from the US. Probably shouldn’t bring that up to the protesters, but the genie is already out of the bag on guns.

      • Just a few quick facts:

        1. Automatic weapons are NOT ‘on the street’. They were effectively banned from private ownership by two laws passed in 1935 and 1986. However, a clear reading of the 2nd Amendment means that these laws are not Constitutional: the Militia is the body of citizens who are legally able to own firearms and who can and wish to volunteer for service in a time of need for the purpose of the national defense.. The part about ‘well’regulated’ means that the firearms, ammunition and equipment used by the militia (as defined above) are compatible with that used by the armed forces of the united states.

        The reality is that true ‘military grade weapons’ have not been used in mass shootings in such a long time that there is no statistical data available on their use in any crime at all.

      • You forgot to mention Chicago with the toughest gun laws in the US. the fake news quit even posting the murders

  2. The NRA and its supporters are the domestic enemies of the United States. A new generation won’t tolerate their nonsense agenda! The change starts with our kids…I LOVE YOU ALL. KEEP MARCHING AND FIGHTING FOR YOUR LIVES!

    • The NRA is the oldest civil rights organization in the United States. At one time – when the NAACP was a conservative organization fighting for civil rights for black people against the Democratic Party’s militant wing – the KKK for those of you who are ignorant of history – the NRA and the NAACP stood hand in hand fighting against democratic white supremacist lynch mobs and the KKK.

  3. U.S. school fires, grades K-12, with 10 or more casualties:

    Lakeview School Collinwood, OH – March 4, 1908: 175 Casualties
    St. John’s Parochial School, Peabody, MA – October 28, 1915: 21 Casualties
    The Cleveland School, Kershaw County, SC – May 17, 1923: 77 Casualties
    Babbs Switch School, Hobart, OK – December 24, 1924: 32 Casualties
    Bath Consolidated School, Bath, – MI May 18, 1927: 46 Casualties
    Consolidated School, New London, – TX March 18, 1937: 294 Casualties
    Cleveland Hill School, Cheektowaga, – NY March 31, 1954: 15 Casualties
    Our Lady of the Angels School, Chicago, IL – December 1, 1958: 95 Casualties

    1959-2018: Fire Extinguishers

    • Not sure where you’re going with this one. I mean, fire suppression systems only go into action once a fire has already started. Arguably, using this corollary, the answer to a sociopath on a shooting rampage is a good guy with a gun, taking him down by any means necessary.

      Also, in your litany of school fires, you neglect to mention that the Bath School Disaster, as it is known, is the worst mass casualty attack perpetrated on school grounds. (The earliest recorded incident in the US occurred during the Delaware uprising back in1764 when four Lanape Indians entered the Enoch Brown school and killed a dozen including an unborn child. The victims were – and this is very important – variously shot, scalped and tomahawked.) The Bath School disaster was a premeditated attack by a man whose name should live in ignominy and who (and this is very important) planted a series of *home made* explosive and incendiary devices around the school. Arguably, fire extinguishers would have done very little to reduce the fatalities, a reality first responders must accept when faced with improvised explosive devices. Frankly, I’m far less concerned with ‘gun violence’ than I am with the idea that some little psychopath will eventually realize that it’s way easier to manufacture explosives and incendiaries than it is to obtain a firearm.

      • Allowing teachers with CCL’s to carry on campus and/or granting new CCLs to qualified staff members would be the first step in the right direction.

        How many US airliners were hijacked since the TSA decided to weaponize our airline pilots through that pesky Federal Flight Deck Officer program in 2001?


  4. It is always interesting to me to observe how many arguments promulgated by liberals in favor of progressive laws depend on some combination of mendacity, hypocrisy and ignorance to survive scrutiny. Bike Dude’s comments are a quintessential example: firstly, he assumes that ‘self-defense’ is the only legitimate argument in favor of gun ownership and that, therefore an (arguably) arbitrary set of restrictions can be enacted based on his own (and, presumably, other progressives’) subjective notion of what is reasonable to own for the purposes of self defense.

    But the Constitution doesn’t identify self-defense as the sole rationale for gun ownership. Rather, the Constitution identifies two specific reasons that ownership of arms (weapons) shall not be infringed:
    1. Firearm ownership is necessary for a well-regulated militia, and
    2. Firearm ownership is necessary for the security of a free State

    But what does this mean? What is a militia?
    What does ‘well-regulated’ mean? And what is a ‘State’.

    Well, a ‘State’ is the collective of individual people living under the laws of the United States.

    And, at the time the Constitution was written, the ‘militia’ was any adult capable of owning and using a firearm who could be called up into service in the defense of the nation.

    And ‘well-regulated’ meant that the firearms and equipment owned used by the militia was functionally equivalent to, and compatible with that equipment used by the military.

    Gun control advocates can argue this all day long, but that’s the true meaning and intent of the 2nd amendment. And there is plenty of scholarly text written by the Framers of the Constitution (I. E. The Federalist Papers) to support this fact.

    It is therefore reasonable to understand that the Framers would have explicitly supported the ownership by the militia (any adult citizen capable of being called up to serve in the defense of the nation) of such firearms as those modeled after the Amalite Rifle platform.

    It is also more than merely academic to point out that a substantial portion of the artillery used during the Revolutionary War actually was privately owned, and, again, this met the conditions set forth in the 2nd Amendment regarding a well-regulated mikitia.

    • “Well regulated”, “at the time” also meant well trained. This pertaining to practiced as in Marching or formations and target practice or use of a bayonet if they were avalible. Defence of not only the nation but state, city, and towns. The local militia might also be called up as a posi or other form of law enforcement as necessary. Billy the kid led the gang known as the “Regulator” as some saw them as the law.

      • M.T.,

        Logical bunny trail that is the Billy the Kid comment notwithstanding, you actually make more of my point for me than you realize, although one could easily debate the merit of practicing ‘Marching’ as applied to a ‘militia’. The reality of modern combat is such that practicing formations and marching has absolutely no role in combat efficacy. Just watch The Last of the Mohicans for an illustration of this reality. The Native American Indians were far more effective fighters precisely because they had no use for the rigid military doctrine that the British troops employed.

        That is not to say that marching and formations don’t have their place in formalized military training. They do, but that place has more to do with team building, esprit de corps and unit cohesion than it does with actual combat.

  5. > It is always interesting to me to observe how many arguments promulgated by liberals in favor of progressive laws depend on some combination of mendacity, hypocrisy and ignorance to survive scrutiny.

    The art of progressive argumentation is at least 2,500 years old:

    “A sophist (Greek: σοφιστής, sophistes) was a specific kind of teacher in ancient Greece, in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Many sophists specialized in using the tools of philosophy and rhetoric,. . .”

    “The early sophists’ practice of charging money, often employed by rich people, for education and providing wisdom only to those who could pay . . . .”

    Think of “sophists” as the first trial lawyers.

    “Separating wisdom and eloquence”

    “Author of The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction James A. Herrick wrote, “In De Oratore, Cicero blames Plato for separating wisdom and eloquence in the philosopher’s famous attack on the Sophists in Gorgias.”[1] Through works such as these, Sophists were portrayed as “specious” or “deceptive”, hence the modern meaning of the term.”

    Sophists were so clever, sneaky, and deceitful that other philosophers had to figure out and catalogue the tricks they used to win arguments and persuade people:

    “A fallacious argument may be deceptive by appearing to be better than it really is. Some fallacies are committed intentionally to manipulate or persuade by deception, while others are committed unintentionally due to carelessness or ignorance.”

    List of Fallacies

    Socrates was charged with “impiety” by sophistic politicians, put on trial, convicted and sentenced to death. He was executed by being ordered to drink poisonous hemlock.

    And what “impiety” did Socrates commit? In modern terms it would probably equate to “lack of political correctness”.

  6. It was just a Hillary rally.

    “Here’s who actually attended the March for Our Lives. (No, it wasn’t mostly young people.)”

    . . .

    > March for Our Lives protesters were also more likely to identify as ideologically moderate. About 16 percent did so, higher than at any other protest event since the inauguration. But unsurprisingly, it was still a very liberal crowd: 79 percent identified as “left-leaning” and 89 percent reported voting for Hillary Clinton.

  7. Gangs are the root cause of these it’s called code of the streets in prison there two sides the people who tell and the people who stick to street code of silences .so no one can get to the root cause of the problem . I was a victim of gun violence and the justice system is very underdeveloped it’s pretends to be on top of everything but it’s a bunch of pretend boy scouts .. if your a victim you can’t even jail your perpertator without publishing your name on legal documents . How are we spose to come forward without knowing that wee going to be safe after words at home

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