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Students organize March for Our Lives in Chico

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Students organize March for Our Lives in Chico

Protesters march through downtown Chico Saturday.

Protesters march through downtown Chico Saturday.

Josh Cozine

Protesters march through downtown Chico Saturday.

Josh Cozine

Josh Cozine

Protesters march through downtown Chico Saturday.

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Roads were blocked off through much of downtown Chico Saturday as students and community members streamed into the city plaza to protest gun violence.

They were participating in the #MarchForOurLives national movement. The march and gathering for the Chico area was almost entirely organized by high school students.

Rose Miller, 17, a senior at Pleasant Valley High School and head coordinator for the event, spoke prior to the march. Before addressing the crowd, she requested 17 seconds of silence one second for each student killed in Parkland Florida in a school shooting last month.

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Rose Miller speaks to a crowd of thousands in the plaza.

“I was born after Columbine,” she said, and went on to explain that she and any high school student today has never known a time before the fear of possible mass shootings in the schools they are forced to attend.

Those gathered then headed out, signs in hand, chanting phrases like, “No more silence, end gun violence,” and, “This is what democracy looks like.” The crowd stretched several blocks as they marched through downtown Chico.

As people returned to the downtown plaza Miller took the stage again, introducing other high school students to speak at the gathering.

Two students, Emily Schroeder, 18, a senior at Pleasant Valley High, and Bailey Christiansen, 15, a sophomore at Chico High, each prepared heartfelt poems. The poems described their fear and anger felt at the lack of response to the issue, which they stated they feel powerless to change.

Concluding the event, Miller implored everyone to contact their local legislatures and national representatives to demand change.

Josh Cozine can be reached at [email protected] or @joshcozine on Twitter.

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Students organize March for Our Lives in Chico