Many Millburn-Short Hills residents were among the estimated 800,000 people who flooded the streets of Washington, DC during the March for Our Lives on March 24.
Short Hills resident Kevin Quinn, who is Chair of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, marched with his wife, Jane. “We wanted to be here to show support for these students,” Jane said. “We offered to charter buses down for the town’s students but sadly were told that it conflicted with a senior celebration event.”
Gina Abrams felt compelled to be in DC along with her husband David and daughter Victoria, 13. Her older daughter, Lia 18, attended the March in Westfield, NJ with friends.
“I saw it as is my duty and privilege to join the courageous Parkland teens and act with conviction through the awesome power of our democracy, our laws, and our voice,” she explained. “Our country suffers from an incomprehensible rate of gun violence. Together we must stand up to our disbelief, or worse, the resignation that it will happen again.”
Shaila Ballal and her 14-year-old son Amal woke up at 4 a.m. to get to Washington in time for the start of the March. “I did it partly because I didn’t know what else to do. I can fight gender discrimination, bias on a day to day basis, but this is so beyond anything I deal with,” she said. “I also did it for the parents of the kids. When my father died last month it helped when so many people came to see me, that people cared. I can’t imagine how those parents must be feeling.”
Ballal found the day to be more than she anticipated. “It was so powerfully inspiring, so many people coming to stand up for their beliefs, and to think that the kids played a major role in mobilizing them. Amal and I got to witness democracy in action, and we felt empowered, not like dissatisfied bystanders waiting for someone else to bring the change.”
“I feel like I was a part of history,” added Amal.
“I’m here because I’m committed to being a whole-hearted participant in the movement to end the most heartbreaking and senseless threat to our children,” she continued. “When we enact common-sense gun legislation, we will help stop the literal and metaphoric bleeding.”
Abrams would also like to see more focus on as she says, what’s going on with our boys and what we believe masculinity should be. “The three most painful words to a boy sometimes are, be a man. When we learn how to love our boys, we will have gotten to the heart of the matter.”