Haverhill Residents Participate in Local ‘March for Our Lives’ Event Saturday

Rep. Diana DiZoglio, right, joined protesters Saturday morning. (Jay Saulnier photograph for WHAV News.)

Ben Hoyt of Haverhill left work early to attend the rally. (Kim Whiting photograph for WHAV News.)

A busload of Haverhill students and teachers were among those who joined the ‘March for our Lives” event in Boston Saturday. An estimated 800,000  people descended upon the nation’s capital to protest gun violence in the U.S. while sister protests were held throughout the nation and around the globe—including one Saturday morning in downtown Haverhill.

The smaller protest was for those unable to make it into one of the bigger cities. People of all ages took place in that protest, and Mayor James Fiorentini was among them. “It reminds me of my own youth, being involved in the anti-Vietnam war movement,” Fiorentini said.

The High School offers voter registration each year but that’s not enough, Fiorentini said.

“We need to get kids to actively vote. Young millennials can really make a difference. The election is too much tilted towards people my age and we need to get kids involved. I want to get more kids involved in some of my advisory committees. Maybe if any kids are listening, they could give me a call.”

Besides the mayor, other elected officials appearing at the rally included state Reps. Andy Vargas, Linda Dean Campbell and Diana DiZoglio.

Twenty-four year old Ben Hoyt left work early to join the protest. He said young people are thinking for themselves.

“We’re just looking for sensible changes with the gun laws,” he said.

“Not only are they educated, but they lived through the experience. If anyone should be leading this charge, it wold be them. You’ve heard the sentiment that kids don’t know what they’re doing or they’re being controlled by someone but you see all these major movements and a lot of times in the past have been led by kids – so I think it’s completely valid – of course they should be leading this charge.”

Husband and wife Ron and Julianne Peacetree support the second amendment, but believe in reasonable restrictions.

“In 46 out of 50 states, you can legally have access to firearms if you have a legal history of assault and battery. In 34 out of 50 states, if you are a domestic abuser, you can have legal access to firearms despite the fact that as a domestic abuser, we’ve got solid proof that you are five times more likely to use a firearm on those you’ve abused. That’s just stupid,” Mr. Peacetree said.

Meanwhile, about 20 Haverhill High students, accompanied by 10 teachers, middle schoolers and allies, participated in the Boston protest. Student  Keighley Credit said,  “The amount of positivity and power held in the march that we participated in today was overwhelming. It was a great overall experience for our younger members to experience what can happen when everyone comes together to be one strong force. We were so proud of our members today and we are so excited to continue the fight going forward in not only our school and community, but nationwide,” she said.