West Milford students, adults protest gun violence

Residents take to the streets locally and around the world to inspire change

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  • Photo by Lori DohertyOne young protestor who marched for gun control on Saturday shows her sign.

  • Photo by Lori DohertyMarchers show their opinions about gun control.

  • Photo by Lori DohertyA West Milford student advocate speaks to the crowd gathered on March 24 after they marched through the streets calling for gun control.

  • Photo by Julie Tomaro Zoey Brown (from left), and her father David Brown and brother Zachary Brown of West Milford marched in the March for Our Lives protest in West Milford on Saturday, March 24.

  • Photo by Julie Tomaro Marchers in West Milford on March 24.

By Julie Tomaro

In an inspirational movement started by students, the town of West Milford and the surrounding communities came together Saturday with one message, “To End Gun Violence in our schools.”

Kristin Reeves, organizer, activist and concerned citizen brought together the march to “Create an opportunity for those who cannot make the larger marches in Washington, D.C. and other cities a place where students and residents can come together to voice their civic discourse.”

Students make their voices heardStudent organizers planned the march in collaboration with the nonprofit organization for gun safety.

Claudia, a resident of West Milford and mother of two West Milford students attended the march because “our Voices need to be heard.” she said.

David Brown of West Milford, attended the march with his children, Zoey and Zachary.

“I shouldn’t have to worry about the safety of my children while they are in school” and urged for stronger gun laws," he said.

Two West Milford High School student spoke at the event.

“Genuinely advocating to stop gun violence in schools and genuinely facing opposition," said junior Oliva Dell’Olio. "The solidarity in every participant in any protest is commendable and inspires me to act out to change the issues surrounding gun violence in schools.”

Senior, James Lenon Davis who participated at the walkout at the high school on March 14, spoke to the gathered crowd.

“We need to instill stricter gun control laws," he said. "I realize now that since seventh grade, I’ve been in danger of endangering my life in west Milford.”

Cindy Hammer, a senior at Villa Walsh Academy, said that “Gun violence is a fear in every students heart. We are students, we are the future and we are asking for you to protect us.” Cindy, a recipient of the Susan B. Anthony award urged politicians to “stop turning the memory of our children into baseless threats of furthering political agenda.”

Another speaker at the event, was longtime West Milford resident and former town council member CarlLa Horton. Horton is the executive director of Hope’s Door in Westchester County, an organization to promote safety and healing for survivors of domestic abuse.

“This is a march to end gun violence in our schools and our community,” she said.

Hopes Door seeks to end domestic violence and to empower victims to achieve safety, independence and healing from the trauma of abuse.

Protest, Parkland inspired legislationPolice escorted the marchers along Marshall Hill Road in West Milford. More than 75 people demonstrating by holding colorful bright signs and chanting against gun violence. Millions of protestors marched in events around the world.

New Jersey's Democrat-led Assembly on Monday passed a half-dozen bills aimed at strengthening the state's already-strict gun laws, including a measure to permit the seizure of weapons upon a court order.

The legislation came days after the marches and the same day as Second Amendment advocates in Trenton rallied against the legislation.

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