LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Hundreds of parents and students rallied Monday in Pershing Square against gun violence after last week’s deadly school shooting in Florida.
The rally comes less than a week after a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. killed 17 students and teachers. A 19-year-old former student, Nikolas Cruz, has been charged in the shooting.
“This shouldn’t be a repetitive motion for us, but we’ve become almost immune to the school safety lockdowns, to this news – that’s not acceptable,” one protestor said.
Los Angeles parents and students weren’t the only ones to take the Presidents’ Day holiday off as an opportunity to protest. Dozens of teenage students spread their bodies on the pavement in front of the White House to demand presidential action on gun control and symbolize the 17 killed in a school shooting in Florida.
The teenagers were also joined by parents and educators. The protesters held their arms crossed at their chests. Two activists were covered by an American flag. One held a sign asking, “Am I Next?”
Ella Fesler is a 16-year-old high school student in Alexandria, Virginia. She says, “It’s really important to express our anger and the importance of finally trying to make a change and having gun control in America.”
Fesler adds, “Every day when I say ‘bye’ to my parents, I do acknowledge the fact that I could never see my parents again.”
Anger since this latest school shooting – the deadliest one at a high school in U.S. history, and the deadliest since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 that killed 20 kindergarten students and six adult staff members — is at a fever pitch since the massacre on Valentine’s Day.
Students who survived the shooting have made repeated and angry calls for immediate action on gun control legislation at weekend rallies and are planning to march on Florida’s state capitol.
“Because of these gun laws, people that I know, people that I love, have died, and I will never be able to see them again,” Delaney Tarr, a student at the school, told the crowd swamping the steps and courtyard at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, about 25 miles from Parkland.
The crowd chanted: “Vote them out!” and held signs calling for action. Some read: “#Never Again,” ”#Do something now” and “Don’t Let My Friends Die.”
Student Emma Gonzalez told the crowd politicians should stop taking donations from the National Rifle Association. “Shame on you,” she yelled, and the crowd chanted after her.
“A lot of people are saying that these kids are activists, these kids need to be politicians,” she later told a reporter. “But a lot of us are just other students who figured there’s strength in numbers. And we want to be sure that we end up having our message sent across. And then we can get back to our normal everyday lives, you know.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)