Organizers of the Evansville March for Our Lives event on Saturday were concerned about the weather. Cold rain and brisk winds threatened to keep people away.
They needn't have worried. Several hundred people packed the sanctuary at First Presbyterian Church in Evansville and most braved the rain to walk from the church to the Four Freedoms monument after a short program. By organizers' count, 740 people picked up ribbons to carry during the march.
The nationwide discussion on gun violence in America has so far been mostly by older people and mostly male. On Saturday, the students had the megaphone, the moral high ground and plenty of support. Young and old marched in the rain, wearing their soggy clothing like a badge of honor. Afterward, one drenched and cold organizer, Avery Appel, said, "Yeah, it was cold, but in a way, that made it better because we showed that we're not going to let anything stop us."
Before the march, Alex Hardgrave wrapped her sign in plastic and carefully taped the ends. She was determined that anyone viewing the march could still read it in the wet conditions. "When we go out in the rain, we hope that people will see us and that we can get our message across."
That message came in the form of signs and chanting as the marchers made their way through downtown Evansville. Calls of "Enough is enough!", "Stop the silence, end gun violence!" and "We call BS!" echoed through the mist from the church to the riverfront.
Along Mulberry Street from Second to the Evansville Museum, and then up on the Ohio River levee, a steady stream of colorful signs, umbrellas, strollers and even wheelchairs made its way to the monument. Speakers from several groups told the crowd that it's time to speak up about gun violence.
There were no counter-protestors in evidence at Saturday's event. Numerous Evansville Police Department officers and Vanderburgh County deputies helped with traffic and security for the event.