DES MOINES, Iowa — March for Our Lives and other student-run Iowa organizations are holding a protest Monday at the State Capitol to protest against Senate File 543, a bill that would allow for guns in schools and on college campuses.
Esha Bolar, the Executive State Director for March for Our Lives, said that after protesting SF 543 in the House, the rally Monday will have more students.
“That’s the feedback that we were getting when we were on the floor for the original version of SF 543 is that legislators were like you need to bring more people out here because the message is not sending. So after it passed the House we were like enough is enough, we have to take this to the next level,” Bolar said.
Iowa WTF is another student-run organization that helped plan the protest.
Waverly Zhao, Iowa WTF’s founder, said that giving students a platform for their voices to be heard by legislators is key.
“Students and their voices and kind of coming together is honestly the key to really speaking to these legislators. Not adults. And that’s again what we’re here to do is show that students know what’s going on, they have a voice as well, and they want at the end of the day to be able to go to school safely and have a safe life,” Zhao said.
Iowa WTF has organized walkouts for other school-related legislation in Iowa. Zhao said that Monday’s protest has a good chance of getting legislators to hear students out.
“A lot of legislators are being pressured to the point that they can’t ignore us. So many large groups of students coming to the Capitol. We saw it with the We Say Gay walkouts, with all those students who walked out and also came to the Capitol, and legislators are also feeling for these kids that they also represent and so I think that this protest really has the opportunity to really speak to them and show them how important this issue,” Zhao said.
The March for Our Lives protest starts at noon in the Rotunda of the State Capitol.