#MarchForOurLives –Children, Adults, and Celebrities Come Out Strong to Fight for Relief from Gun Violence for All, First LGBTQ Pride Parade Set for Columbus, Indiana, and the L.A. Rams Break with Tradition and Name the First Male Cheerleaders in NFL History
March 24, 2018 marked the March For Our Lives protest in Washington D.C. and in hundreds of other locations throughout the United States and the world. The movement arose after the tragic deaths of 17 high school students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. One of the most stunning moments occurred when Emma González – a survivor of the attack – stood silent at the podium to commemorate the 6 minutes and 20 seconds the gunman repeatedly fired into throngs of students during the Valentine’s Day massacre. Other touching moments came as a result of the Parkland students purposeful reach out to students of color in communities such as Chicago, Illinois, who face gun violence on a regular basis. The energized and impassioned campaign has garnered comparisons to the 1960s wave of activism by college-aged students to challenge the Vietnam War. Taking a non-partisan approach, the Parkland students made clear that they do not endorse any political candidates. Rather, the students endorse an agenda that not only seeks to end school shootings like the one in Parkland, but to protect all students from any form of gun violence. Bipartisan support also was reflected by countless celebrities and athletes supporting the movement. Notably, Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, lent his personal jet to transport Parkland students to the D.C. March.
The Parkland students weren’t the only high-schoolers stepping up to take action. Erin Bailey, a high-school senior from Columbus, Indiana is the organizer of what will be the first LGBTQ Pride Parade in that city. Columbus is the hometown of Vice-President Mike Pence, who is known for his anti-LGBTQ views. In 2015, while governor of Indiana, Pence sighed a controversial bill that would have allowed businesses to openly discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community. The bill, which generated massive boycotts and immediate condemnation, subsequently was amended. Columbus’ inaugural Pride parade will take place on April 14, 2018, with all of the usual fanfare and accoutrements. It will double as Erin’s high-school senior project.
Speaking of firsts . . . our Los Angeles Rams have made NFL history by naming two male dancers to its cheerleading squad. Quinton Peron and Napolean Jinnies both are classically-trained dancers who have performed throughout their lives. Competition was fierce and call-back auditions spanned a three-week period. While two other NFL teams – the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts -- have had “stunt men,” no other NFL team has ever included men in their traditional cheerleading squad. Go Quinton! Go Napolean! Go Rams!