On Saturday, March 24, at Spring Continuing Sessions, Youth from across PYM participated in the March for Our Lives at the Capitol in Harrisburg, PA.
The morning program was spent in preparation: wondering about how we let our lives speak as Friends, talking about what it is like to attend a march/rally, and processing different perspectives on the issue of gun control. Youth returned to the space where meeting for business was being held and gave a report of their concerns, including where they align with the March for Our Lives platform, and what they hope will change. One of the YM recording clerks later claimed the big piece of paper they had written on, explaining, “For the minutes!” They are now part of the history of PYM.
Also before lunch, the PYM body attending Sessions was asked if they had words to share with the youth, sustenance to send them off to the march in the afternoon. We acknowledged that for some Youth, this was their first time attending a march or rally like this. There was a lot of experience bearing witness among Friends in that room! Out of the silence, Friends called out,
“You are loved!”
“Stand in your truth!”
“God is with you!”
“Speak truth for justice!”
And many other messages.
We arrived at the Capitol and joined in the March around a city block and then assembled with the group on the Capitol steps. We carried the PYM banner and homemade signs. We chanted with other marchers. We created chants! One was “We want silence, not gun violence!” We stayed together, and took care of one another in our group, which was joined by about a dozen other Friends.
Back at Harrisburg Meeting during the debrief of the experience, the young Friends shared feelings of hope and calls to action. One MSF participant said, “Before, talking about this, I felt like we were in a bubble. But we’re part of something bigger.” They reminded us that there’s more to do, and suggested ways PYM and their local meetings can support them to network, stay in touch, and share information with each other.
They were student activists on Saturday. Not our future, but our now.