Santa Clarita Valley students, teachers, families and supporters will gather for a “March for Our Lives” rally at Marketplace Park in Valencia on Saturday, March 24, starting at 10 a.m., to demand an end to gun violence in schools.
The SCV march, themed “Demand Safe Schools,” is a “sibling march” in solidarity with the “March for Our Lives” student movement, joining the hundreds of similar rallies planned by students and survivors of gun violence around the country in support of the national rally in Washington, D.C. the same day.
“This march is important to me because our peers are losing their lives,” Ally Sagardia, an SCV rally co-host (with fellow Valencia High School seniors Matthew Sagliocco and Kayla Amara) said in a news release.
“Kids all across the nation are scared to go to school every day,” Sagardia said. “This is not okay and it cannot be considered a ‘new normal.’ I’m looking forward to the march because this event is bigger than us. It’s for those whole feel defenseless and need their voices heard.”
The SCV event will begin with a memorial ceremony honoring the students killed in recent school shootings. A rally will follow, with speakers to include local students and community leaders.
Participants will then march on three routes along the Newhall Ranch Road sidewalk/bike path between McBean Parkway and Bouquet Canyon Road (short route .5 miles; medium route 1.5 miles; long route 2.5 miles). Marchers must stay on sidewalks and abide by pedestrian traffic laws. All routes will conclude back at Marketplace Park.
“This march, organized by a group of local students and teachers, is open to all residents who share our same commitment to safety in our schools and for our students and community,” reads the “Santa Clarita Valley – March for Our Lives” event page on Facebook. “The collective voices of the ‘March for Our Lives’ movement will be heard as we advocate for student safety.”
“We support the right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms, as set forth in the United States Constitution,” according to the new DemandSafeSchools.com website, launched late last week.
“But with that right comes common-sense responsibility,” the site reads. “When we work together as a united, nonpartisan force in a common quest to engender safety in our schools, we will be unstoppable. This national day of action will focus on petitioning lawmakers to make students’ lives and safety a priority.”
Rally organizers include student leaders from local private and public high schools and they are still recruiting volunteers. If interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organizers have also set up a GoFundMe crowdfunding account with a goal to raise $5,000 to cover permits and other fees, security, signage, accessibility requirements (chair rentals, tents, etc.), and any other costs not donated by the community.
The “Santa Clarita – March For Our Lives” account “is currently managed by a local teacher who is working with the teenagers in charge. Adult support staff will be maintaining accounting records for donations and expenses,” the fund’s page reads.
Marketplace Park is located at 23811 Newhall Ranch Road, corner of Grandview Drive, Valencia 91384.
Parking will be available at five locations: the Real Life Church parking lot; Bridgeport Park; Bridgeport Elementary School; on Grandview Drive; and on Hillsborough Parkway.
Lyft will provide free rides to those attending the rally, as the ride-sharing company has announced it will do for rally attendees nationwide.
At press time, seven food trucks were confirmed to attend.
SCV “March for Our Lives” student organizers plan the March 24 “SCV March for Our Lives” rally at Marketplace Park in Valencia. Photo: From Facebook.
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Several local students contributed quotes to the DemandSafeSchools.com website about why they’re organizing and/or participating in the SCV “March for Our Lives” rally.
Julianna Lozada, a Valencia High School sophomore, said: “It’s time for students’ voices to be listened to and acknowledged not only by our teachers and parents but also by people in positions of political power. I am looking forward to the march because civic engagement is something I am very passionate about and want to encourage other students to pursue, to remind those around us that our ideas our valid and deserve to be heard.”
Matthew Sagliocco, a Valencia High School senior, said: “This march is important to me because we’ve waited far too long for those in positions of power to do the right thing. This march will afford us the opportunity to inform students about how to create political change. I’m looking forward to the march because I want to stand in solidarity with the students from Parkland and with everyone who has been impacted by gun violence. I believe in political activism and want to encourage my generation and other generations who have been apathetic on the subject of gun violence.”
Olivia Hurst, a Saugus High School sophomore, said: “This march is important to me because increased gun control is long overdue. I’m so sick and tired of seeing students die because politicians and people in positions of power won’t do anything.”
Hayley Powell, a Valencia High School senior, said: “Politicians are choosing party over people and it’s time for students to take their own lives into their hands.”
Emma Knight, a Valencia High School freshman, said: “This march is important to me because I do not want my future children to grow up believing that a person’s right to own a gun is more important than my own life.”
Joe Defreitas, a Valencia High School senior, said: “I have three younger siblings, two of whom are in elementary school. When I was that age, I didn’t worry about losing my life at school. I was taught that school was a safe environment for learning and growth. But it’s different for my younger siblings. In recent years, I’ve seen my parents struggle to explain the threat of gun violence, not wanting to scare my siblings but needing them to be prepared. I’ll be marching not only because my peers and I deserve to feel safe, but because I want future generations to enjoy school without worrying for their lives.”
Ashley Pagsibigan, West Ranch High School sophomore, said: “I want to march because I think it’s important that every student can come to school knowing they will be safe. Too many lives have been lost too early due to ignorance of firearms. I’m marching for all the students whose lives were taken away and I’m marching for our right to express our opinions on gun control laws. Change will only come if we raise our voices.”
Dylynn Abbey, a Valencia High School senior, said: “I’m looking forward to this march because I want the ones who have been forgotten by most to know that they have not been forgotten by us. I want the people who are standing up to know that we are standing up with them. I’m looking forward to having my voice heard and hopefully, inspiring others to do the same. Education is vital, and it will no longer be threatened.”
Justina Lee, a Valencia High School senior, said: “Gun violence has increased immensely, not only just in schools but everywhere. Our generation and younger generations are growing up with the idea that these shootings are normal. We are continuously taught to duck, run, or be prepared to fight in concerts, markets, schools, and public places. We are at risk everywhere we go. Older generations have seen this as a need to allow more guns for “protection,” but that ideology has failed us. It is time to be heard, which is why I am particularly passionate about this cause and this march. This is our message and our voice to advocate for a better future. The time for change is now.”
A Santa Clarita Valley student displays a note during the March 14, 2018 student walkout, saying he demands “that the politicization of school shootings stops and we solve the problem now.” Photo: From Facebook.
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