Shortly after one o’clock on the day of the rally, as the bulk of the attendees had settled in to listen to the speakers and musical guests on the main stage, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) felt confident enough about the size of the crowd to take a salty swipe at President Donald Trump.
“I can tell you for sure, it’s larger than the Trump inauguration,” Van Hollen told The Hill, picking at the oldest sore spot of the Trump presidency — the crowd size at his inaugural celebration. Famously smaller than that of his predecessor, President Trump’s sensitivity to comparison spurred former White House press secretary Sean Spicer into his first controversy, hours into his tenure — a moment he now regrets.
A few hours after the March For Our Lives concluded, organizers laid down their marker with reporters, setting their figure at 800,000 attendees.
Experts have estimated Trump’s inaugural drew between 300,000 and 600,000 people.
Officials connected with today’s #MarchForOurLives here in D.C. tell @NBCNews that they are estimating a crowd size of *800,000* after forecasts of 500,000.
Sure feels likes that from our vantage point on the ground.
In a day of memorable moments at the March For Our Lives, the one that will be burned into the memories of the people who attended and watched on TV will be Parkland high school student Emma González.
Taking the stage, the 18-year-old senior who identifies as bisexual, announced it took the shooter at her Parkland high school six minutes and 20 seconds to perform his deadly massacre on February 14.
After reading the names of the 17 who died at the shooting massacre, González stood silent and still for almost four minutes to remember the time it took to murder those young lives.
She didn’t preface the silence. She simply stood as an occasional tear rolled down her cheek.
The crowd wasn’t sure what she was doing but they stayed with her, for the most part, in silence.
When a timer went off, she told the crowd:
“Since the time that I came out here, it has been six minutes and twenty seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape and walk free for an hour before arrest. Fight for your life before it’s somebody else’s job.”
The eloquence of her tribute and power of her silent scream were undeniable.
Incredibly powerful. Watch the full moment below.
Watch here as #EmmaGonzalez takes 6 minutes and 20 seconds of silence during her speech – the time it took 17 to die at Parkland
Cameron Kasky, one of the Parkland students who helped organize today’s March For Our Lives gave one of “the” speeches of the day warning pro-gun politicians, “Either represent the people or get out. Stand for us or beware – the voters are coming.”
In less than 4 minutes the charismatic Kasky encapsulated the voice and goals of the #NeverAgain movement.
He began by sharing that he’s been asked if he believes that “any change is going to come” following the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. Calmly, Kasky told the crowd “look around” because “we are the change.”
“We must educate ourselves and start conversations that keep our country moving forward, and we will,” Kasky told the energized crowd. “We hereby promise to fix the broken system we’ve been forced into and create a better world for the generations to come. Don’t worry, we’ve got this.”
In an ad that includes footage of Donald Trump needling Republicans for being “afraid of the NRA,” Parkland high school student David Hogg wonders aloud “What if our politicians weren’t the bitch of the NRA?”