Urging local and national governments to pass national gun-control laws while braving the 90 degree heat, around 200 protesters ranging from students to seniors gathered in Gateway Park in Mountain View on Saturday, June 11, to join the nationwide March For Our Lives demonstration.
The activist group Raging Grannies and a local student-led group called Young and Loud led the Mountain View protest. Demonstrators marched from Gateway Park to Mountain View Civic Center Plaza to the train station and back, passing by outdoor diners with protest signs such as "Keep your thoughts and prayers out of my classroom" and "Protect kids not guns."
Other protesters — called to action by the May 24 Uvalde school shooting in Texas— held demonstrations in 400 cities in almost every state, including Washington, D.C., according to CNN.
Outside Mountain View City Hall, speakers ranging from local politicians to high school students gave their thoughts on gun violence.
“I am so sad to see the world that we're handing off to our young people today, and to little tiny children, who will not have the same world to grow up in that their parents and their grandparents did,” Mountain View City Councilmember Sally Lieber said in her speech. “We never thought about a school shooting. It wasn't even a phrase that entered our minds, but it's an everyday reality today.”
Shreyas Kaps, an 11th grader at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley in San Jose, said that students should be fighting to improve the world they were handed.
"I'm in high school right now, and these (high schoolers) are the victims of these mass shootings," Kaps said. "So we should be the ones that come out and create these sorts of protests so we can really get our voices heard. That's why I'm here today."
Teachers also came out to protest.
"I'm frightened," said Nixon Elementary School teacher Christina Nosek. "I'm frightened for the future of all of my students and it needs to change, and it's despicable that it's not right."
At the rally, the Raging Grannies raised a torch and handed it to younger protesters, symbolizing passing on the responsibility of activism to the next generation.
"We like street theater, and we like visuals," said "Granny Ruth," a member of the group. "You'll see we had about 12 grannies here today, but we have many more grannies. It's just when you're in your 80s, it's too hot."
This protest did seem like a "torch passing" event, with protesters from all age groups marching on the streets, according to seasoned protester and Mountain View High School senior Kris Koh.
“I think this is the first time I've seen such a diverse range of age groups,” Koh said. “That usually doesn't happen. It's usually more so youth, but what we did today was really good.”
For Khushi Nigam, the founder of Young and Loud, the only way to see change is when people from all backgrounds and generations come together.
"There is a real and undeniable strength in our numbers and in our passion," Nigam said. "Whether we're students or we're senior citizens, there is no limit to the amount of noise we can make when we work together. That's why the June 11th march is so powerful. It connects people from different generations and mobilizes them to act for a worthy cause, one that requires the constituency to strongly urge policymakers and congresspeople to step it up."