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Southwest Florida Students Head To D.C. For March For Our Lives

Quincy J Walters
The bags belonging to young people of Southwest Florida attending this weekend's March For Our Lives in Washington D.C.

About thirty young people, ranging from middle schoolers to college students, met up in the parking lot of the Lee County School District building. They packed their bags into vans that’ll take them to the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., Thursday.

They're a part of the hundreds of thousands of people expected to show up in D.C. for March For Our Lives on Saturday. It’s a rally planned by the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting last month that took 17 lives. 

It’s a 15.5 hour drive.

Ralf Desire is a senior at Estero High School. He said he has a friend who was shot and killed.

When asked what he's hoping the march will accomplish, he said "hopefully a new law that’ll stop people from shooting up schools."

Desire said he isn’t completely against guns, he just thinks that something has to change.

Perla Ruiz, a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University, said she’s not completely against guns either. But she also has friends who’ve been negatively impacted by firearms. One of her friends was held up at gunpoint.

"Another friend was playing around with a gun and shot his friend by accident," Ruiz said. "And [his friend] ended up dying."

At the march this weekend, Ruiz said she’s hoping she’ll learn ways other people think gun violence should be tackled.

Jimmy Manelus, who goes to Cypress Lake High School, said he has a few ideas

"[There could be] better regulations and more mental background checks on people who are trying to get a gun," he said. 

A lot of the others going on the trip say they’re just excited to be part of a national movement.  Some are leaving the state for the first time, excited to see their first snow fall and just glad to be alive. 

Quincy Walters is a reporter and backup host for WGCU.