Federal Way community members, students march against violence

About 120 people took part in the March for Our Lives.

About 120 community members, including approximately 40 students, took to the streets to protest violence in schools and show solidarity with a nation-wide effort in the March for Our Lives March 24 in Federal Way.

The march, which was student-led and hosted by various groups from Federal Way High School and other schools in Federal Way, was one of many that took place across the country in response to the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida.

In Federal Way, marchers made their way after a rally at Federal Way High School to Town Square Park, where there were student speakers, a moment of silence for the 17 students killed in Parkland and 17 orange balloons representing the victims.

Federal Way council member Jesse Johnson, who attended the event, said he was pleased to see students take the lead on the event.

“It was really humbling and empowering for everyone,” Johnson said. “As adults, it was humbling to see kids care about the issue.”

Shay Coston, who is a leader with Federal Way H.Y.P.E. (Helping Youth Produce Excellence) – a 501(c)3 community-based organization that is a component of the Federal Way Youth Action Team — said he thinks the march was a step in the right direction.

“We wanted the students’ voice to be heard and to be involved in the community and stop the violence,” Coston said. “We may not have gotten every gun off the streets, but we all came together and got some stuff off our chests.”

Students in Federal Way also took part in the National School Walkout Day on March 14 to protest violence in schools and remember the Parkland shooting victims.

Ruby Edwards, a Decatur High School junior, who along with classmates who started the We Act club helped organize the walkout at Decatur, took part in the March For Our Lives in Seattle on Saturday. About 10 people, including five students from Decatur, made the trip to Seattle, Edwards said.

“We wanted to do something bigger and be around different people to get our word out,” Edwards said. “Throughout marching, I had so many great conversations about voting and how we are going to make a change.”

We Act isn’t done with its work, Edwards said.

She said the club plans to set up a voter registration table at Decatur to get eligible students signed up to vote.

“In order to make a change, voting is going to be extremely important in this next election,” Edwards said.

Community members and students march in protest of gun violence last Saturday. Courtesy Jesse Johnson

Community members and students march in protest of gun violence last Saturday. Courtesy Jesse Johnson