A survivor of the Parkland school shooting vomited on stage as she led the crowd at a rally against gun violence.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior Samantha Fuentes, 18, was shot in both legs and hit with shrapnel in the attack on February 14.
She led the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to Nicholas Dworet, who would have turned 18 today if he had not been gunned down by Nicholas Cruz with an AR-15.
Overcome with emotion, she had to hide behind a podium and be sick before returning to carry on.
She was speaking at the March For Our Lives rally in Washington DC, where hundreds of thousands of people gathered demanding stricter gun laws yesterday.
The ‘March for Our Lives’ events drew massive crowds in cities across the country, marking the largest youth-led protests since the Vietnam War era.
In Washington, D.C., New York City, Denver, Los Angeles and other cities, demonstrators heard from student survivors of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
‘If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking,’ Parkland survivor David Hogg said to roars from protesters packing Pennsylvania Avenue from a stage near the Capitol to a spot many blocks away toward the White House.
‘We’re going to take this to every election, to every state and every city. We’re going to make sure the best people get in our elections to run, not as politicians but as Americans.
‘Because this,’ he said, pointing behind him to the Capitol dome, ‘this is not cutting it.’
Demonstrators vowed to vote out lawmakers who refused to take a stand now on gun control.
Many rallies had tables where volunteers helped those 18 or older register to vote while speakers detailed the policies they wanted and the impact gun violence has had on their lives.
The fire alarm at Trenton High School is scary, said 17-year-old Gabrielle James at a march in suburban Detroit.
‘We don’t know if it’s an actual drill or if someone’s actually inside the school, going to take your life,’ James said at a march in Detroit.
She said government has ‘extremely failed’ to protect students from gun violence and she wants restrictions on automatic weapons.
‘I work extremely hard at my studies. Sometimes I just sit in my car before going to school, wondering if I’m going to be home to see my mother after school,’ James said.
Some of the young voices were very young. Yolanda Renee King, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 9-year-old granddaughter, drew from the civil rights leader’s most famous words in declaring from the Washington, D.C., stage: ‘I have a dream that enough is enough. That this should be a gun-free world. Period.’
By all appearances – there were no official numbers – Washington’s March for Our Lives rally rivaled the women’s march last year that drew far more than the predicted 300,000.
The National Rifle Association went silent on Twitter as the protests unfolded, in contrast to its reaction to the nationwide school walkouts against gun violence March 14, when it tweeted a photo of an assault rifle and the message ‘I’ll control my own guns, thank you.’
President Donald Trump was in Florida for the weekend and did not weigh in on Twitter either.
White House spokesman Zach Parkinson said: ‘We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today.’ He also pointed to Trump’s efforts to ban bump stocks and his support for school-safety measures and extended background checks for gun purchases.