powerful speeches at the Boston event, sparking
rounds of cheers as they denounced the actions
of the National Rifle Association and the inaction
of Congress. They also called out injustices in
communities of color.
Petit-Homme said that in Boston, communities of
color have been advocating for gun control for years
but activists have been “silenced and demonized.” The
students made it clear that their movement is as much
about social justice as it is about gun control.
“We are marching for our streets and for our
schools. We are marching for the streets in Mattapan
and the suburbs of Marlborough. We are marching
for the schools in Dorchester and the classrooms in
Concord,” Lowell said.
MTA members also joined other rallies across
the state, which produced large turnouts in Beverly,
Worcester, Springfield, Hyannis and Northampton.
The Amherst-Pelham Education Association was
one of the sponsors of the Pioneer Valley March for
our Lives in Northampton. APEA President Jean Fay
praised the student organizers, saying they reached
out to her to discuss organizing and to see if the local
union could donate to the march and rally.
“They were amazing. They came up with
the plan and they followed through,” Fay said. “I
Fay is a longtime activist for school safety. She
attended schools in Newtown, Connecticut, and has
organized many summits to examine the issue of
school safety since the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy
Hook Elementary School in that community.
There have been many mass shootings since
20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 young
children and six adults at Sandy Hook, and Fay said
she had feared that people were simply becoming
numb to such horrific news.
Fay works with students in the second and sixth
She noted that she has known some of the older
students since they were in kindergarten. “I have
watched them mature,” she said. “In the sixth grade
we do a unit on activism, and they are passionate and
concerned about this issue.”
She continued, “This does feel different
now, with having the students so involved. These
kids have my admiration, and I am more hopeful
something will get done.”
MTA President Barbara Madeloni said locals
have done an outstanding job in organizing around
the students’ concerns.
“We are united in solidarity with students in
demanding safe schools and safe communities,”
The date marks the 19th anniversary of the
shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado,
where 13 people were killed and two dozen were
injured. The day of action was being organized by
the Network for Public Education, the National
Education Association, the American Federation of
Teachers and other organizations.
‘We are marching for our streets and for our schools’
Continued from previous page
‘We teachers do not want guns. Arm us
with science equipment. Arm us with
pencils and paper to last a whole year.
Arm us with books that aren’t missing
pages. Arm us with equitable funding
for all schools.’
—MTA member Graciela Mohamedi
Above, students reacted to one of
the speakers on Boston Common
at the March for Our Lives event.
In the photo at immediate left,
Rockland physics teacher Graciela
Mohamedi rallied the massive
crowd from the stage. Behind
her is Monica Cannon-Grant, a
community organizer, and at right
is Vikiana Petit-Homme, one of the
student speakers. In the photo at
far left, a group of area educators
along the route expressed their
opposition to arming teachers.
Photos on this page and Page 6
by Eric Haynes and Scott McLennan