Miles Vender-Wilson, 14, was one of dozens of marchers in Jackson Heights, Queens coming together Saturday to stand up to gun violence in the wake of the Uvalde Texas mass shooting.
“Here we go again, another mass shooting,” Vender-Wilson said, joining marchers along with his dad. “We just had a lock down drill yesterday, and it’s really saddening that we as students have to be taught to hide in the corner of a classroom in case a shooter comes when this is something that is solvable by the government.”
The march was organized by a New York City Council member, Shekar Krishnan. He led marchers on a 21 block walk from 73rd Street and 34th Avenue to 93rd Street. That’s one block for each of the victims — 19 students and two teachers that were killed in Tuesday’s shooting.
“It is a tragedy that for so many of us as parents of young children myself included with a 6-year-old and 3-year-old had such a profound and heavy impact, I am just sick after reading the news,” Krishnan said.
At every block, marchers recited the name of each victim — many holding hand made posters.
“I heard about the march online and I thought it was really important,” said 14-year-old, Sophie Schmerler.
Schmerler marched with her friend. She said she attends school just a few blocks away and this latest mass shooting was on everyone’s mind.
“What’s been happening in schools and in supermarkets and in centers all over the country — something needs to be done,” Schmerler said. “I think a lot of kids are just used to it now, and it doesn’t mean that they’re ok with it but they’re just kinda numb to it because it’s been happening so much.”
At the end of the march, participants laid a rose on the names of each of the victims written out in chalk right outside of P.S.149 — some onlookers were overwhelmed with emotion.
“The loss of such young children. Watching the kids put the flowers. I have a daughter. I can’t imagine what’s that like,” Jennifer Suarez said, wiping away tears.