Countering the messaging emanating from the National Rifle Association’s convention across the street, a student-organized protest took place in Dallas on Saturday to denounce the powerful lobbying group’s “dangerous agenda.”
The “Rally 4 Reform,” organized by StudentsMarch.org, brought together advocates for common sense gun reform who rallied outside City Hall. The event was just across the street from the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, where the NRA’s gathering — which promises a “weekend of fellowship and fun!” — is underway.
“Our generation is the post-Columbine generation,” organizer Waed Alhayek from the University of Texas at Arlington told KERA News.
“We’ve seen tragedy after tragedy after tragedy,” she said. “After the Parkland students stood up, even older people are saying, ‘Why have we accepted thoughts and prayers?’ on Twitter.”
Parkland student and March for Our Lives founder Cameron Kasky gave the students shout-out on Twitter, applauding the group for what they are “doing this weekend to counter the celebration of weapons happening in Dallas.”
The March for Our Lives, which inspired epic protests across the nation on March 24, also cheered students behind the event for being “a prime example of how the young people are going to change the world.”
The students over at @_studentsmarch organized the #Rally4Reform in Dallas today. These guys are a prime example of how the young people are going to change the world. Send them love! #MarchForOurLives
— March For Our Lives (@AMarch4OurLives) May 5, 2018
The call-to-action for Saturday’s event — bolstered by the presence of supporters including Newtown Action and Moms Demand Action — declares:
It’s critical that we support elected officials who stand with students calling for universal background checks, a ban on bump stocks, and a ban on high-capacity magazines.
These issues should be common ground for all Americans. Unfortunately, far too many politicians prioritize the NRA over basic reforms that would protect schools and communities. That needs to change. And on May 5th — with the NRA convention a few hundred yards away — thousands will make their voice heard at the student-led Rally 4 Reform.
Social media users captured scenes from the event, including a mural created by Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver’s father:
— Lexie Houghtaling (@LexieNBC5) May 5, 2018
We’re here with Manuel Oliver, father of Joequin who was killed in the Parkland shooting who created his truly incredible and moving mural in Dallas near the convention center at the #Rally4Reform at the City Hall. #NoRA @_studentsmarch pic.twitter.com/HRxVXtDsDb
— Newtown Action (@NewtownAction) May 5, 2018
— molldogs (@mamamakesthree) May 5, 2018
— AudreyPeterman (@PetermanAudrey) May 5, 2018
— Ara Freeman (@ararfreeman) May 5, 2018
— Courtney Collins (@courtneylc82) May 5, 2018
— Adam Alhanti (@AAlhanti) May 5, 2018
Other protests and counter-protests took place throughout the day, and may continue into Sunday, the final day of the NRA convention.