Caroline Swayze and Ella Beerworth

On Friday, Oct.19, Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg and Alex Wind visited Burlington as part of their March for Our Lives tour.

They spoke at the First Unitarian Universalist Society, which was packed with people, sitting on the ground in the back and pulling chairs up as well. The crowd created great energy with lots of excited chatter and people looking at the new book, A Glimmer of Hope, recently written by the March for Our Lives founders. Those who purchased a ticket for the event received a copy of the book.

The song “This Little Light of Mine” filled the church as people sang, waiting for the speakers to come out. Renee Reiner, co-owner of Phoenix Bookstore, which sponsored the event, talked about how happy she was to have March For Our Lives in Vermont.

Interviewer Kesha Ram, a former member of the Vermont House of Representatives, asked many questions about the book, and toward the end of the event people from the audience were given an opportunity to ask questions.

The three speakers talked about why they are so passionate and why we need to take action. At one point Ram asked if the students would run for political office, to which Wind responded, “I hope I don’t have to.” One student from the audience asked how we should talk with relatives about political topics during the holidays. Instead of using phrases like, “anti guns” or pro guns,” the speakers used “anti people dying, or pro people dying.”

People left feeling inspired and hopeful, and it was an amazing opportunity to see how tragedy has sparked a movement.

Caroline Swayze and Ella Beerworth are both in 8th grade at Charlotte Central School. They are reporting for The Charlotte News as part of the News/CCS journalism club collaboration.