Anjali Aiyana Figueira: Growing up, making change and standing up for ourselves | TheUnion.com

Anjali Aiyana Figueira: Growing up, making change and standing up for ourselves

Other Voices
Anjali Aiyana Figueira

March 14, 2018 was the national school walkout day in the U.S., and many students in this district joined in the March.

I am a sophomore at Forest Charter School in Nevada City, and I was moved by all the student support and motivation that day.

I think the first thing that is important to put out there is that this movement isn't meant to take away anyone's rights.

We aren't standing against the people who believe they should keep their guns; we are standing with the children who have died because of guns.

We aren’t protesting to remove your Second Amendment rights; we are protesting to express our right to our First Amendment.

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We aren't protesting to remove your Second Amendment rights; we are protesting to express our right to our First Amendment.

We aren't standing against our schools to protest; we are standing as a school to protest.

The beginning of a march really starts weeks before, and includes the planning, the organizing and the promoting. Besides that, it begins hours before, during the set-up. No one really sees this part, but the set-up is one of my favorite parts of the process. Our classroom on Wednesday morning was strewn with posters, markers, tape and rulers, and kids worked together to make their signs. There was a buzz in the air, a sort of nervous hope that poured out of everyone as each got ready to march for change.

At our meeting place at the front of the school, I saw everything just magically pull itself together. The truth with marches seems to be that no matter how much you plan or stress about taking up time, or the number of people who will be there, the result will be a group of students setting out to change the world. There is nothing that can be done to plan that, there is no time that needs to be filled, because we were all filled with so much energy and hope that we would have been fine standing there for another hour.

We began by heading around the block, passing Argall Way in Nevada City and going through the SPD Market parking lot, chanting a combination of "Enough is enough!" "We call B.S.!" and "Never Again."

The sky was gray, and there was a misty drizzle, and we could see our breath in the air as we chanted. We didn't walk at the same pace, and some of us didn't walk the same speed, but our voices melded together to become one. At the sidewalk in front of the parking lot, we ran into middle schoolers from nearby schools — amazing kids who had ventured out all on their own without supervision.

They joined in our chants and with big smiles of renewed confidence, saying, "We just wanted to make as much of a difference as we could."

Every time a car honked, the group would cheer and take up our chant with renewed spirit.

It's amazing to see what this movement does for every student. It gives us hope, steals away our growing fear and brings us together. Not a group of kids separated by rank, beauty or intelligence; for once, not bothered by race or sexuality or gender.

This kind of movement brings us all together in a feeling that is almost inexplicable — like a blend of growing up, making change and standing up for ourselves.

Anjali Aiyana Figueira is a sophomore at Forest Charter School in Nevada City.

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