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Students Give Speeches to Crowds Gathered to March for Gun Control; Ariana Grande Performs at March for Our Lives Event; Martin Luther King Jr.'s Granddaughter Speaks at March. Aired 2-3p
Aired March 24, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] SAMANTHA FUENTES, MARJORY DOUGLAS STONEMAN SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Our mission is simple, and our visions are unbeatable. Let's keep the guns out of the hands of the wrong people and keep them in the hands of the safe and the reasonable. So either you can join us or be on the side of history who prioritized their guns over the lives of others.
FUENTES: The only way we can do this is in numbers. Let's have our lawmakers reflect the views and address the struggles. Let's stand and unite with one another. We the people still stand to choose, and now America, you will have to choose. Will you give up or is enough, enough?
FUENTES: And I have one more request. Today is March 24th, March for Our Lives, but it is also the birthday of Nick Dworet, someone that was senselessly murdered in front of me. Today is his birthday. I would like to sing together happy birthday. One, two, three.
Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Nick. Happy birthday to you.
Thank you. Thank you.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, you have been watching there one of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. That was Sam Fuentes. She was overcome, Brooke, there for a moment in the middle of the speech, because it is so emotional. Obviously, we can only see the physical scars. And when we last interviewed her which was just a couple of weeks ago, she had a black eye still, she still had the scars of shrapnel in her face and on her leg that she showed us. She will carry some of those. They can't actually remove some of the shrapnel in her face because it's too dangerous. She will carry that forever. And she just gave one of the most passionate and emotional speeches that we have heard today the amid so many because obviously they are carrying the scars forever. BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Forever. Forever. No, you just want to
jump up there and throw your arms around her and give her a huge hug. Talk about a young woman full of such conviction speaking like that, and then also getting everyone in this rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" for one of the 17 lives lost in Parkland, Florida.
And I have to say, it is great to be in Washington. It's one of those special days for a number of reasons, but to be out there, I wanted to just feel it and be in the middle of the crowd. And you know what I saw, it's not only a lot of young people and their parents and also children, but there are young people hanging in trees. That is -- that is just to me a show of how many people are here, why they want to be here. They want to lock eyes on the people on the stage. I haven't seen something like this in a long time.
CAMEROTA: And also just it is the passion of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, they have galvanized a country. So there are all these marches for our lives around the country. We are in the biggest one right now in Washington, D.C., but it is these dozens of students who have done this.
And in fact I should mention one last thing about Sam Fuentes who just spoke. She is not going to school. It was all so overwhelming that she made a decision not to go back, it was her senior year, not to finish, because she said that she's going to be traveling around the country dedicating herself to speaking out about all of this and this is her new cause, and she feels it is more important for her to be on stage at things like this than sitting in math class for the rest of the year. Obviously, that is her personal decision, her parents have gone along with it, but you have seen how she he has dedicated herself to this.
BALDWIN: We will stop talking, because I know that you want to hear these different speakers. Let's go back here to Washington, to this program.
[14:06:20] ARIANA GRANDE, SINGER: Thank you guys so much. This is for these brilliant students today that are leading this march, and to everybody for participating, thank you for fighting for change and for love, safety. I love you all so much. Thank you.
BALDWIN: All right, so, I'm Brooke Baldwin. It is a is sunny day here in Washington, D.C., blue skies overhead. As you can see it is a packed crowd, and by the way not just here in Washington, but all across the country. We're going to hopscotch around the country in the next two hours. We'll take you to Los Angeles, we'll take you to Denver, to a number of marches coalescing today, March for Our Lives, because these young people, right, this is all inspired by what happened at Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, just last month, 17 people were killed. And so we take you back to the program now here in Washington.
ALEX KING, CHICAGO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Good afternoon, family.
KING: Yes, I said family. I said family because we are here to join together in unity fighting for the same goals. I say family because of all of the pain that I see in the crowd. And that pain is another reason why we are here. Our pain makes us family. Us hurting together brings us closer together to fight for something better.
My name is Alex King. I'm 17. I am a senior at North Lawndale College Prep as well as a peace warrior and a leader with Good Kids, Mad City. Chicago has been at the forefront of gun violence for a very long time, with 650 people being murdered in the year 2017 and 771 being murdered in the year of 2016.
But that is not it. Gun violence travels in places like Florida, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles. It happens nationwide. I know many -- I know many people who have lost loved ones, friends and family on the regular basis due to gun violence. My nephew, Desean (ph) Moore (ph), he was taken away on May 28th in the year of 2017 two weeks after his 16th birthday. The day I lost my nephew was a huge turning point in my life. I started doing a lot of bad things, hanging around a bad crowd, I started to really give up.
[14:10:00] But there's this principle by Dr. King, and it states the beloved community is the framework for the future.
KING: And what that means is that how our community is now is how it will be effective in the future if we don't make a change. If we aren't acting like a family now, we won't act like a family in the future. If pain is in our community now, pain will forever in the community in the future if we don't make a change.
KING: Our community has been affected by gun violence for so long and will continue to be affected by it if we don't do something. But through my friends and colleagues I found help to come out of the dark place. Everyone doesn't have the same resources and support system as I was lucky to have. Myself and a few others peace warriors were able to take a trip to visit Parkland students and share our trauma with one another. We left not only knowing that we would support one another, but also realizing that without the proper grassroots resources, this issue of violence will not be solved and we will not stop until we are properly resourced in our communities.
KING: So, family, continue the fight for what is right. And since we are family now, I would like to pass on one of the traditions that me and my family does at a North Lawndale College Prep. So as I do this, I will ask that you the follow me when I say "repeat after me." So there's this African clap that we do at North Lawndale that shows unity, which is unity is strength. Look at the numbers here in the crowd today. Do you see this?
KING: So, here's how it go. First, I would say one, and that is just a simple clap. So when I say one, it is like this. One, one, one, one. OK. Now, next I would say four, and how that is working is two sets of two. So when I say four it is like this four, one-two, one- two, four, one-two, one-two. four, one-two, one-two.
And now here's the tricky part. Now we do 10, which is two sets of three and two sets of two. So how this goes is like this when I say 10. It goes like this -- 10, one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, one, two, 10, one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, one, two.
Now, you all think we can do this as a family?
KING: All right, that's what I like to hear. Let's go. One, one, one, one, four, four, 10, 10. I love you all.
D'ANGELO MCDADE: One, one, one, four, four, 10.
MCDADE: For we are survivors. Let me say that again for you. For we are survivors.
MCDADE: We are survivors of a cruel and silent nation. A nation where freedom, justice, equality and purpose is not upheld. A nation where we do not live out the true meanings of our creed. When will we as a nation understand that nonviolence is the way of life for courageous people?
MCDADE: When will we as a nation understand that we are not here to fight against one another. But we are here to fight for life and peace.
MCDADE: Dr. King once said darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.
MCDADE: Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.
[14:15:00] MCDADE: Which now leads me to say that violence cannot drive out violence. Only peace can do that.
MCDADE: Poverty cannot drive out poverty, only resources can do that.
MCDADE: Death cannot drive out death. Only proactive life can do that.
MCDADE: As I stand before you, I stand as D'Angelo McDade, an 18- year-old from the westside of Chicago. I, too, a survivor and a victor of gun violence.
MCDADE: I come from the place where minorities are controlled by both violence and poverty, leading us to be deterred by is success, but today we say no more.
MCDADE: I stand before you representing the body of those who have experience and lost their lives due to gun violence. For we are survivors. For I am a survivor. For we are survivors not only of gun violence, but of silence. For we are the survivors of the erratic productions of poverty. But not only that, we are the survivors of unjust policies and practices upheld by our Senate.
MCDADE: We are survivors of lack of resources within our schools.
MCDADE: We are survivors of social, emotional and physical harm.
MCDADE: Dr. King had a dream, a dream that we as youth must now make our reality. Ephesians four, two-three says "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through peace and love." For First Peter says in Chapter four, verse eight, "Above all," you ain't hearing me. It says "Above all, love each other," because love conquers helps all wrongdoing.
For as we -- let me hear you say "We."
MCDADE: Let me hear you say "We."
MCDADE: As youth must now be the change that we seek. My mother has this phrase that she used all of the time and she told me before I left home to come deal with this. She says if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything. And I stand for peace.
BALDWIN: Two young men from Chicago, listen, this isn't just about mass shootings here. This is about drive by shootings. This is about suicide. This is about gun violence. By the way, we are minutes away from hearing from Emma Gonzalez. You have seen her calling BS live on television. You've seen her on the front cover of the latest "TIME" magazine issue from Douglas high school, so we're going to be hearing from Emma momentarily.
Meantime, there was a moment earlier today, we're talking about how this is all about young people and young voices. When I say young, how about a nine-year-old. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOLANDA RENEE KING, MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.'S GRANDDAUGHTER: My grandfather had a dream that his four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream that enough is enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Yolanda King sitting with me, and her dad, Martin Luther King III. Thank you all so much for being here. From my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, nine years old. What was that like?
YOLANDA RENEE KING, MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.'S GRANDDAUGHTER: I was really nervous.
BALDWIN: You couldn't tell.
YOLANDA RENEE KING: My heart was beating like, boom, boom, boom and it just got fasters and faster, but then once I got used to the crowd, I'm like, oh, it's not that bad.
BALDWIN: It's not that bad, just a couple thousand people watching you deliver your message talking about your grandfather.
YOLANDA RENEE KING: But I just didn't think of that it way.
BALDWIN: You didn't think of it that way. So why did you want to be here today? Why did you want to get up on that stage? What is this about for you? YOLANDA RENEE KING: One of the things I want to help is that there
should be no guns in this world.
BALDWIN: No guns in this world.
YOLANDA RENEE KING: And not just at schools, but like everywhere.
[14:20:00] MARTIN LUTHER KING III, MARTIN LUTHER KING JR'S SON: And let me say one thing, Brooke, to brag, that a year ago, two years ago in 2016, President Obama invited us to see the bust of dad that is in the Oval Office, I think it's still in the Oval Office. And we asked her, my wife and I said, Yolanda, you need to prepare a question for the president. Back then she said, Mr. President, what are you going to do about these guns? This is two years ago.
BALDWIN: To former president Obama.
MARTIN LUTHER KING III: Yes.
BALDWIN: And now she is up here, we were talking during the commercial break, because you are nine, you're in fourth grade. You do the drills in school. You understand at 9 years of age.
YOLANDA RENEE KING: Yes, in fact on Friday we did a lockdown drill. And so there are a like a few levels. There's one level when there is an explosion nearby, I forgot what level two was, and level three is if the person has a weapon and they are at the school and stuff. So we have to do all of these lockdown drill because it is unfortunate that people have guns. And people use them to hurt other people.
BALDWIN: They do. They do. We were talking about doing the tornado drills and your nine-year-old is doing active shooter drills. What is that like to hear?
MARTIN LUTHER KING III: On the one hand it is very sad that we have devolved to a level where we are have to do that, but the reality is it is important for all of our children to be safe. I believe we ought to have school zones as safe zones. We have enough technology in the world now. For example, we could manufacture guns with certain chips, and they could not be shot in a safe zone. That is something we need to think about. Now, that does not address those gun that are already here, but it is very important for us. We have all kinds of technology. We need to employ that technology to protect the children. Every child deserves to be able to go to school in safety.
BALDWIN: The two young men who were just up on the stage from Chicago were quoting your grandfather.
YOLANDA RENEE KING: Yes.
MARTIN LUTHER KING III: What do you think that -- you never knew your grandfather, but knowing that everything that you have heard, what do you think that he would think about you and this movement?
YOLANDA RENEE KING: He would probably be amazed that all of these people are getting together. And a few days ago I had a dream about him.
BALDWIN: You did not. Tell me about that dream.
YOLANDA RENEE KING: Well, I don't know exactly what he said, but one of the things that I did see is, it is like this museum and he somehow came alive, and all these news reporters and cameras were at him trying to interview him.
BALDWIN: What do you they his message was for you in that dream?
YOLANDA RENEE KING: I think that his message was to remember that he is always with me, and that, because it happened, because I didn't even know I was going to speak here then.
BALDWIN: This happened so quickly.
MARTIN LUTHER KING III: It certainly did. Yes.
BALDWIN: As in the last 24 hours.
MARTIN LUTHER KING III: Yes, last 24 to 48 hours.
BALDWIN: When that young Parkland student -- whose idea was it? How did this come to be?
MARTIN LUTHER KING III: Well, actually we had thought that the chant that she does that we taught her a while back would be a great idea. So we actually reached out to students at Douglas Stoneman, and the committee thought that this makes sense.
BALDWIN: What do you think that your dad would think, because I was talking to somebody a little while who was remembering back to 63 and I have a dream, and all these people were out here for a very different reason.
MARTIN LUTHER KING III: Well, let me say this. Me personally, I don't remember seeing a student-led, high school student-led movement like this since 1963 when 3,000 children were arrested in Birmingham. I think that my dad and mom would realize and think that this is phenomenal, it is awesome. The students are not participating, the students are leading. And change is going to come as a result of these young people. And it is quite wonderful.
It is going to spring new movements in general. I think you also have to look at the Me Too movement which has been organizing for quite a while and is going to be significant, and we cannot forget Black Lives Matter where things began and maybe they have been misunderstood by some, but all of these movements are leading to I think change in this great nation.
BALDWIN: Do you think part of it is that once cameras pack up, and everyone trains or flies home, is it about going back to your own communities, holding on this feeling, this energy, and does it come down to galvanizing an effort at the voting booth in November? What is the material change? MARTIN LUTHER KING III: It is absolutely that. And I can't imagine
that that is not going to happen, that there are going to be millions of people, and particularly young people who have not voted in the past but will cast their votes in this election cycle based on what a candidate says. And I think that will change dramatically the way business is done here in Washington, D.C.
[14:25:00] And also, the young people. If you are 21 and can graduate from college in the ROTC and become a lieutenant, you're a commanding officer, then at 21 you can run for the public office, you can be city councilmembers, you can be county commission members, you can be state legislative members. So I think the reality is always the best is yet to come. And then finally, I can't say how much and how proud we are of our daughter. She asks us questions all the time that we have to ask Siri. Wait a minute, we don't know. We need to ask Siri.
BALDWIN: Let me end on you, Yolanda, and thank you so much for coming by. You dad was talking about when you all were in the White House with former president Obama. If you were to ask the current president, if you got to ask him one question about any of this, what would it be?
YOLANDA RENEE KING: Well, it would, if I were to ask president Obama --
BALDWIN: One question.
YOLANDA RENEE KING: Well, one question -- well, let me think about that.
BALDWIN: You have to think. I appreciate it. I see the cogs moving. There is a lot to think about and ask him, but one question, maybe how to keep you safe, because you want to be safe at school, right?
YOLANDA RENEE KING: Yes. How to keep good people safe, how to make this a gun-free world.
BALDWIN: Yolanda, Mr. King, thank you so very much, an honor and a privilege to meet the two of you. Thank you.
We are here in Washington, D.C., it is March for Our Lives on this Saturday afternoon all across the country. Let's go back to the program here in D.C.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Andrea, and we are survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and we also wrote the song "Shine." This song is not only dedicated to the 17 victims that we lost. It's dedicated to all of their friends and family and to anyone who has ever experienced gun violence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Together, we are going to be the change, we are going to change the world. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You, you threw my city away. You tore down the walls and opened up all of the gates.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You ruined this town, you burnt all of the bridges slowly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you're not going to knock us down. We'll get back up again. You may have hurt us but I promise we'll be stronger and --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not going to let you in. We're putting up a fight. You may have brought the dark but together we will shine the light.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we will be something special, we are going to shine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to stand tall, going to raise our voices so we never, ever fall.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are done with all of your little games. We're tired to hear that we are too young to ever make a change.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because you're not going to knock us down. We'll get back up again. You may have hurt us but I promise that we will be stronger and. We're not going to let you in. We are putting up a fight. You may have brought the dark but together we will shine the light.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going to the shine, shine. And we can hug a little tighter, we can love a little more, laugh a little harder, we can stand up and roar. If we come all together it will be all right. Stand up for one another and we'll never give up the fight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We refuse to be ignored by those who will not listen. We deserve to feel safe in our own schools. The time for change is now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The smallest of words can make the biggest difference.
[14:30:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be the voice for those who don't have one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Together, we have the power to change the world around us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not going to knock us down. We'll get back up again. You may have hurt us but I promise that we will be stronger and we're not going to let you in. We are putting up a fight. You may have brought the dark but together we will shine the light. You're not going to knock us down. We'll get back up again. You may
have hurt us but I promise that we will be stronger and we're not going to let you in. We are putting up a fight. You may have brought the dark but together we will shine the light.
We will be something special. We will shine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Thank you.
BALDWIN: So incredible that you can feel it sitting as far away as I am. Look at this on the stage. Ed Lavandera is somewhere here with me in Washington in the crowd. Ed, so powerful.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Brooke. And one of the things out here in the crowd it is not just young people, but there are also groups of people from other horrific shootings across the country.
I am with a group with, this gentleman lost a brother-in-law in Clackamas, the Aurora theater, Las Vegas, the Pulse Nightclub shooting, Virginia Tech. This is a group, they have all come together. They know each other because they share this horrific tragedy together, and they came here because they have been fighting for the gun law changes in their own communities across the country. They were thrust into activism after their own tragedy, and they have battled the ups and downs of fighting them.
And they came here because they partly wanted to be inspired by the young people, the Parkland students in a weird kind of the twist of fate. Normally we talk about the kids learning from the elders. These folks here are talking about how the elders can learn from the young people that out here driving this march here today, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Ed, thank you so much in the crowd here in Washington. He's right, all stripes of life in this crowd, so many people affected, many of whom have not having had to the grieve and survive, but just want to be here to be here to feel this, to be a part of it. And here she is, we call BS, Emma Gonzalez.
EMMA GONZALEZ, STONEMAN DOUGLAS STUDENT: Six minutes and about 20 seconds, in a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 were injured, and everyone, absolutely everyone in the Douglas community was forever altered. Everyone who was there understands, everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands. For us, long tearful chaotic hours in the scorching afternoon sun were spent not knowing. No one understood the extent of what had happened. No one could believe that there were bod bodies in that building waiting to be identified for over a day. No one knew that the people who are missing had stopped breathing long before any of us had known that a code red had been called.
No one could comprehend the devastating aftermath or how far this would reach or where this would go. For those who still can't comprehend, because they refuse to, I will tell you where it went. Right into the ground, six feet deep. Six minutes and 20 seconds with an AR-15 and my friend Carmen would never complain to me about piano practice, Aaron Feis would never call Kira Miss Sunshine, Alex Schachter would not walk into school with his brother, Ryan. Scott Beigel would not joke around with Cameron at camp. Helen Ramsay would never hang out at school with Max. Gina Montalto would not wave to her friend Liam at lunch, Joaquin Oliver would not play basketball with Sam or Dylan. Alaina Petty would never, Cara Loughran would never, Chris Hixon would never, Luke Hoyer would never, Martin Duque Anguiano would never, Peter Wang would never, Alyssa Alhadeff, would never, Jaime Guttenberg would never, Meadow Pollack would never.
CROWD: Never again! Never again! Never again!
GONZALEZ: Since the time that I came out here it has been six minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon the rifle, blend in with the students as they escape and walk free for an hour before arrest. Fight for your lives before it is someone else's job.
CROWD: Emma! Emma! Emma!
CROWD: This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!
CROWD: We want change! We want change! We want change!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keep it going.
CROWD: We want change! We want change! We want change!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sing it to the rooftop. We want change. Come on, you all. We can all sing it together. Change. I want to the hear you say change, you all. Let us hear you say it. Let me hear you say it. Put the hand in the air. I want to hear you say. I know that you can get loud. Change. Change.
You know that we have lost too many. We have hurt too long. I'm going to keep on singing, because we don't get them back, you all. So we have got to change it before, change it before anybody else is hurt. Put down the weapons and change your heart. Yes, I cry from the heart, you all, because I got to start. It's going to change because you need some change. And we are not going to get it until we keep on believing.
[14:51:29] EMMA GONZALEZ, STONEMAN DOUGLAS STUDENT: Is this mic working? OK. Cool. We want to thank you all for coming out here, and we would not be here without you. There is no way in hell that we could ever have amounted to anything without the support of you guys. We all know what this is like. And it is up to us to stop it. So one last final plug. Get out there and vote. Get out there and get registered and if --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are united. We are called the United States of America for that reason. Together we are whole, together we are one. Look to the left. Look to the right, brothers and sisters is what I see. Together we unite to make a whole.
Congress, politicians, you are the parents. Hear your children cry. We want to come home. We want home, whole home. Make our home well. Make our home prosperous. Make our generation the generation that fights. Make the generation that is change. We are the change. Look at us. Look at your children. Your children are the ones fighting for their rights, because they are fighting for the right to survive. We are here to day for the survival fact that no more, no bloodshed due to the fact of a metal machine made by a human triggered by a human. Guns only serve one person, to take a life. They don't spare. They don't protect. They take lives. When you stare at a gun, you know it is your end. We are saying no more. We are here to say we are the United States of America and we are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. We are united.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For our people. We will not stop. We shall not stop. We are magical. We are magic. We are power.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, as one last important note, I think it is important that we realize, just like we are all Americans, we are all susceptible to the same corruption and greed regardless of who you are or where you come from. So what we have here, and what is constantly been sewed is the seeds of corruption. But it is our job as a democracy to make sure that those seeds never sprout. But the only way that you do that is by getting out and voting. If not for me, and for everybody else on this stage and every single American child out there, vote for us, vote for our future, and help us to fight for our lives. MarchForOurLives.com
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, everyone. Thank you all for coming today.
[14:55:00] If you are look around, you are surrounded by the people who will be making this country a better place, and who will be making it easier to sleep at night, easier to wake up at night and to go to school, and easier to be Americans. So to all of you who are assisting us in the fight for change, thank you. Thank you all. And the fight begins today and it will not end until we get what we need. Thank you.
BALDWIN: I just wanted to sit on that for a beat. You see all these pictures, you felt it. Let me tell you just sitting here in Washington, that stage not too far away, you could just feel the goose bumps. Jennifer Hudson took this crowd and all of you watching to church. Keep in mind, she is not just a famous face and an extraordinary singer, but she, too, was touched by gun violence. She lost her mother, she lost her brother, she lost her seven-year-old nephew to gun violence 10 years ago.
And before that, and listening to Emma Gonzalez standing there on stage in silence for those six-plus minute, that is how long it took for the gunman in Parkland, Florida, to the kill 17 of her friends and students and teachers. It was a powerful moment. Even though this march, this rally has wrapped here in Washington, D.C., please stay with us, because there are many more marches and rallies across the country.
We will take you to Los Angeles, we will take you the Denver, we will continue to take you coast to coast. We are here in Washington, D.C., and we will be here for the next hour.
But I am joined by so many people here at CNN covering this, and what these young people, keep in mind this change, this fight is led by the young people in our country. But of course, we listen to teachers as well. And so Dianne Gallagher is with me not far away in Washington with one of the teachers from Douglas high school. Dianne?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and Brooke, before we get to Mr. Levine, the teacher at Marjory Stoneman, and I wanted to speak to Vic Mensa here. He performed on stage earlier during the day. And Vic, talk to me about doing that, what it was like to perform for this cause and for these kids?
VIC MENSA, RAPPER WHO PERFORMED "WE COULD BE FREE": Well, it kind of felt like rage against the machine at the capitol building in its own way. This is a powerful event, a powerful moment in time, and I believe that this won't stop here, that this will continue and go where it needs to go, and make the politicians afraid, make them afraid to put their pocketbooks and put their summer homes and their Lamborghinis or whatever the NRA must be giving them on the backend above our lives. So I think this is a galvanizing moment, and a major, major, major event.
GALLAGHER: Were you politically active before stuff like this? Is this something, they spoke to you and you wanted to be a part of this, or yhou feel like you are politically active anyway?
MENSA: I have been politically active since I was about 16 years old when I read Malcolm X's autobiography and Huey Newton. And so once I got introduced to the Black Panther Party, I have been politically active ever since. GALLAGHER: And what do you think about the representation here?
MENSA: I think it was important to represent people from all sides of this issue. It is a very American thing that it takes white victims for people to really listen about gun violence, but that is what is interesting about the gun violence is that it doesn't discriminate, you know, white, black, brown, yellow, everybody bleeds red.
GALLAGHER: Thank you so much, Vic Mensa. I appreciate your time.
MENSA: Thank you.
GALLAGHER: And Brooke, real quick, I'm also going to bring in here now Darren Levine. Darren is speaking to people right now off the side, but Darren is a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. Some of your students speaking up on that stage today. You've been texting with them the whole day. I don't know how your phone is working, because mine has not been. But talk to me a little bit about what it was like watching these teenagers that you see every day create something like this.
DARREN LEVINE, STONEMAN DOUGLAS TEACHER: As a teacher, we try our best to instill something within these kids, an idea that they can believe in, that they can enact change. And so to see these kids coming from our classroom and coming out onto the stage and really leading this movement this movement that is out there is really surreal. It is everything that we can hope for as a teacher to see our young people take the steps that are needed to make real change.
GALLAGHER: Sam Fuentes, one of your students, speaking up there, obviously she is recovering as well. What has that been like balancing, being a teacher and also watching them become these nationwide, worldwide known activists?
LEVINE: Well, it is just something that we have to kind of watch. It is something that we are there beside them and watching them go along the way. If they need a little bit of help, we will there to kind of hold them and push them a little bit more forward. As a teacher, like I said, this is just all that we can hope for the see our young people make a difference.
GALLAGHER: And you are going to be marching with some of those students to the National Education Building here in Washington, D.C.