DENVER (CBS4) – A large crowd gathered at Civic Center Park and marched through downtown Denver on Saturday in one of the many March for Our Lives rallies that took place across the country.
The events were organized by young people in response to last month’s deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Students, parents and others participating in Denver said tougher gun laws are needed to protect children in the schools they attend.
Speakers at the rally, which took place at the park’s amphitheater, included the father of a student who was killed at Columbine High School, along with survivors of the shootings at Arapahoe High School and an Aurora movie theater.
An organizer said the rally and march in Denver drew more than 100,000 people – including one whose life was forever changed by gun violence.
“As you can see, I am in a wheel chair because of gun violence,” said Karina Vargas, who was shot in a drive-by shooting outside of her school in 2010.
At age 16, she was chatting with friends after school outside of Aurora Central High when a bullet struck her in the back.
“Someone came looking for trouble and shot towards the crowd,” Vargas said. “And I was the one that was hit.”
The gunfire left her paralyzed from the waist down, but it did not silence her voice. She wheeled through downtown Denver streets Saturday alongside marchers who demanded change in gun control legislation.
“(We want) actions. No more words. We’re waiting for something to happen,” Vargas told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “This whole movement that’s started, I feel like I have been a part of it because I feel like I’ve been doing it for such a long time.”
The crowd then marched through downtown demanding immediate change in gun control legislation.
James McDermott, a senior at Jefferson County Open High School, said Saturday’s rally and march is part of a larger movement for student safety. He told CBS4 he got involved in the organization of the event because he believes a change in laws to protect students like him is long overdue.
“Quite frankly I’d like to just see some action and some legislation. It’s been 20 years without much legislation and with the dogs that died on airlines — a tragedy in itself — it took days for Congressmen to say enough is enough with that, and how many school shootings does there have to be before they realize that student lives are important,” McDermott said.
Across the state, crowds also marched in Colorado Springs, Longmont and Cortez, to name a few.
Marching in Denver, Robin Horn lived in Connecticut along with her three children when a shooter killed twenty kids and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012.
“Sandy Hook shook me to the core,” Horn said.
East High sophomores Agnes Brown and Amelia Whitney attended the rally in honor of the lives lost.
“I’m angry about how many shootings there have been in the past,” Brown said. “And I don’t want to feel unsafe in school.”
“You see it keep happening,” Whitney added. “And it cannot continue. It really cannot.”
PHOTO GALLERY: March For Our Lives Rally In Denver