Across Washington on Saturday, with the pain of the Uvalde, Texas, school massacre still searing, people joined the national “March for Our Lives” day of protests, imploring lawmakers to better regulate guns and honor those killed by gun violence.
In Olympia, hundreds gathered in the morning — including parents, students and educators — to march in front of the state Capitol.
Lisa Mahendran, who teaches fifth grade at Cathcart Elementary in Snohomish, said that while she appreciates Washington’s relatively strict gun laws, the state should go further by raising the age to buy a gun to 21 and requiring longer wait periods.
“The only way anything is going to change is stricter gun laws,” Mahendran said. “Increased security in schools isn’t going to help. Arming teachers is crazy. We need stricter gun laws.”
Mahendran, her mother Lynanne Lewis and a fellow teacher, Cheryl Glassey, said they joined the march — where signs with slogans including “protect kids, not guns” popped above the crowd — because of an increasing worry over the safety of student and educators.
“My focus should be on teaching, not whether I’m gonna take the first shot to save your kid,” Glassey added. “That’s not my job, at least it shouldn’t be.”
Lewis cried while hugging Mahendran, saying she was concerned for her daughter’s safety.
Demonstrations were also planned Saturday in Bellingham, Bainbridge Island, Everett, Bremerton, Port Townsend, Longview, Moses Lake, Richland, Woodinville, Vancouver, Renton, Redmond and Lake Forest Park.
Some 300 rallies were said to be scheduled around the country, in response to years of mass shootings and the killing of 19 children and two teachers May 24 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde by an 18-year-old with an automatic rifle.
In Seattle, a rally hosted by the NAACP and MLK Jr. Commemoration Committee was scheduled for Saturday afternoon to honor victims such as the 10 people massacred May 14 at a Buffalo, N.Y. grocery store, in what police say was an anti-Black hate crime.
This story will be updated with news from other rallies.