I Am Not Next

Members of the Des Moines community gather to end gun violence.

Thousands stand at the foot of the Des Moines Capital, participating this weekend in the national March for Our Lives

It’s the fourth day of spring. The temperature continues to drop as the snow falls on 16-year-old Ellie Kaufman who is standing tall, proud, and frozen, on the steps of the Capital building in Des Moines, Iowa. The national March for our Lives movement was organized and started by the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL, but found its way to cities across the country.

Kaufman stood with two of her friends, Siera Rossi and Isabel Steffas, who carried signs saying, “We want to go to school, not funerals,” and “I’m not next” in capital letters. “It snowed so much it looked like my sign was crying,” Kaufman said, explaining that she was proud of herself and the other young adults that came out to participate in the march.

“It wasn’t just adults this time,” Steffas said. “It was little kids, and it was high schoolers and adults. This time it was a mix.” School shootings happen all the time. The press blows up. Yet, within a week or two, the country has moved on. This time, it feels different. Led by a team of determined young individuals, the gun control discussion has shifted in a progressive direction.

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