PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A group of students from Pittsburgh Public Schools left Friday morning to head to Washington, D.C. for Saturday’s March For Our Lives rally.
Students from Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were shot and killed last month, are spearheading what is being called the March For Our Lives.
Fifty-two students from several schools in the Pittsburgh area, along with chaperones and organizers are making the trip.
Rev. Torrey Johnson, of the Church of the Holy Cross in Homewood, was one of the organizers.
“And a child shall lead them. They are forcing us to step up to the plate…enough is enough. That’s why we are going and that’s why we are going to march,” Rev. Johnson said.
Pittsburgh students like Jordan Rutledge, a senior at Allderdice High School, will be among them.
“This needs to stop right now, it’s too much. We are losing our kids for no reason. It’s not just what happened in Florida, it’s what’s happening all over the place. We are tired of it. Enough is enough,” Rutledge said.
It could become one of the largest marches in history, with people turning out in Washington, D.C. and more than 800 sister marches from California to Japan.
The main march in the nation’s capital will walk down Pennsylvania Avenue along side stars like Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus and others. They are pressing for stricter gun control, demanding their lives and safety become priority.
“It’s important that we have children from Homewood participate in the March for our Lives…all the violence in the Homewood community, it’s very important for their voices to be heard and to be a part of the march along with others from across the country,” organizer Sylvia Wilson said.
Michelle Everett is marching with two generations of her family.
“It is like monumental. I get to march with my granddaughter and my grandchildren and show them that children can change the world,” she said.
If you can’t make it to Washington, D.C., there are several local marches at attend. The first happened Friday at the Westmoreland County Courthouse.
On Saturday, the Pittsburgh March For Our Lives starts at the City-County Building Portico at noon and ends with a rally in Market Square. In Beaver County, a rally at the courthouse starts at noon Saturday as well.
Visit the March For Our Lives website for all the details.
Students at Woodland Hills began their rally for gun control Friday.
Fifteen students from that district have been shot and killed over the past four years. Their pictures were placed on empty chairs in the center of the high school’s gym.
Seventeen students from Woodland Hills said they planned to attend the march in Washington.
A rally for gun control organized by students from the Greensburg Salem and Hempfield school districts also took place in Greensburg on Friday.
Parents and kids alike rallied in front of the Westmoreland County courthouse, marching with signs that read “Protect Our Kids.”
“I’m here because I think this cause is incredibly important and gun violence needs to stop in schools,” said Meg Jones, of Irwin. “There’s nothing that’s going to be done until we take a stand.”
But not everyone was buying into the protest. Marty Palla, of Rostraver Township, showed up with an AR-15 assault rifle slung across his shoulder. The same weapon that killed the kids in Florida. He wouldn’t tell KDKA why he needed to carry it down Main Street in Greensburg.
KDKA’s Paul Martino: “Are you mocking these kids across the street?”
Palla: “I’m not going to play into you now, Paul. Don’t play into me.”
But the protestors were undeterred.
“I don’t see anything wrong with having guns and rifles,” said Chris Bergman, of Greensburg. “I don’t see anything wrong with that, but I do see a lot wrong with having these automatic, fast, rapid fire weapons.”