This week, thousands of students across the U.S. walked out of their classrooms in a nationwide protest against gun violence.
The demonstration, which took place yesterday (Wednesday March 14), was an impassioned response to the recent mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school – now the deadliest high school shooting in the country’s history. The tragedy led to the death of 17 people, and sparked a heated national debate on the leniency of American gun laws.
According to reports, it’s estimated that around 3,000 schools across the U.S. were involved in the walkout, which took place exactly one month after the Florida shooting.
In Downtown Brooklyn, almost 1,000 students were seen gathering outside the steps of Borough Hall in Columbus Park, where children as young as 11 were given the opportunity to speak at the mic and share their concerns.
One as-yet unidentified 12-year-old, whose cousins apparently live five minutes away from Stoneman Douglas, drew the loudest responses from the crowd. “I am a 12-year-old fearing for the lives of her cousins,” she shouted, defiantly. “17 students just like me had their entire lives ahead of them, but because as a country we do not question why a 19-year-old can buy multiple assault rifles, those 17 kids died. Because we make it too easy for people who don’t deserve guns to buy guns.”
“We have the right to bear arms,” she added, “but we also have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Photographer Emily Pederson was on hand to a capture the Brooklyn protest. Check out her images below.