More than 5,000 show up to 'March for Our Lives' in KC - KCTV5

More than 5,000 show up to 'March for Our Lives' in KC

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Between 5,000 and 6,000 people showed up to a "March for Our Lives" rally in KC on Saturday. 

The rally was part of a national series of such rallies that took place in cities across the county. The driving force behind them was teens who want to find a solution that will end school shootings. 

The event began at noon at Theis Park and was expected to end around 4 p.m. 

Participants made speeches and played much before a planned march to the J.C. Nichols Fountain to round off the event. 

The police said that it was a peaceful event.

Many of the people behind the March for Our Lives are teenagers. Mayor Sly James told the teens he was proud of them on Saturday:

“I'm not here to stand in front of you,” he said. “I'm here to stand beside you. This is all of our fight.”

James told the crowd he has never been as proud of Kansas City as he was today.

Several local students spoke to the crowd. We heard frustration and anger. There was even a slam poet from Winnetonka High School.

They stood with local groups like Moms Demand Action, calling for gun legislation like universal background checks. Many parents were there as well.

Many of the teens speaking today told KCTV5 News they had organized walkouts in their own schools. Many told us it's time to listen to young people like them.

“It shows that people are paying attention,” said Aliyah Pullin. “We do care about this. It is an issue.”

“We shouldn't be afraid to be in a school setting or at a concert,” Taylor Burns.

A junior at Winnetonka High School who helped plan the event told us he thinks it's time for politicians to focus on a legislative solution. He said it's time to listen to what people his age have to say.

“The change has got to start somewhere,” said Joe Bell. “If it's got to start with young people, so be it. We can't change anything with our phones. So, we have to do something and this is it. We've got to get out and be heard.”

You can watch some footage of the event here:

On Thursday, following a walkout at Indian Hills Middle School, two people who helped plan Saturday's even spoke to KCTV5 News. 

Danielle Dodd and Katie Bullock are students at Winnetonka High School. 

Both of them felt spurred to action following the shootings at a Parkland, Florida high school where 17 people were killed. 

"Right now it's an empty park, but come Saturday at noon? It's going to be full and you're going to feel it," Dodd had said.

"I remember when I was little, how adults around us would talk about 9/11 and how they would talk about Columbine as these crazy events that they could never see coming  that had just shaken the ground that they walked on, and we just have shootings like Parkland that happen all the time and nobody bats an eyelash," said Bullock.

"What this is for me is a way to take away that normalcy, because we don't want to be reading these headlines anymore and we don't want to be just rewriting them anymore either so that it's less people getting killed or a different circumstance," Bullock said. "We want to be changing them so that it's not happening."

While a big focus of the conversation will be about guns, Dodd emphasized that it was also about getting people in gear to take action. 

"We're going to try to get a lot of young people registered here to vote and get them educated on issues specifically pertaining to gun violence, but also a more general breadth of issues," Dodd said.

Both students said they hope to see big changes on the horizon as more young people come of age to vote. 

They also said two major goals they hope to see accomplished in their lifetime are a ban on assault rifles and universal background checks that also cover private sales. 

They also hoped the event would begin a more active dialogue between citizens and elected officials. 

Related story:

Indian Hills Middle School students participate in walkout

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