Parkland students among hundreds at UNC anti-gun violence rally

CHAPEL HILL,NC (WTVD) -- Less than a week after the March for Our Lives rally in Washington D.C., UNC Chapel-Hill students marched on campus Thursday.

UNC's Rally for Our Lives featured speakers including survivors from the mass shooting on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Supporters of the rally converged on Polk Place, the main quad by the South Building, with hundreds in attendance.

"We are here today because we have to be," said Josh Romero, UNC freshman and organizer of the event. "I should be studying for my organic chemistry exam, but I'm not. I'm here. I just wanted to do anything I could to amplify the voices of Stoneman Douglas as well as bring them out here."

The rally also included a voter registration drive and $2 wristbands to support the families of the Parkland Shooting.

"We the students are begging for our safety," said Sarah Chadwick, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who made the journey to Chapel Hill. "We're tired of staring down the barrel of a gun while trying to learn in a classroom."

Another Stoneman Douglas student, Jaclyn Corin, also made the trip.

"The last thing we want to do is repeal the Second Amendment because we understand the importance of self-protection," Corin said. "But we should have universal comprehensive background checks because the federal law is only as strong as the weakest state law. We also need funds for the Center for Disease Control to research gun violence because it's truly a disease."

Robert Schentrup, who is the brother of one of the Parkland victims, said he hopes to help despite the pain of his loss.

"It's definitely been very hard. Especially at the beginning. Very emotional. Very raw. Even now while I was writing the speech I'm giving today ... it was hard," he said. "My hope is that, do my speech today and through other ways, I can help out - maybe I can help out girls like Jaclyn and Sarah with their push for common-sense gun reform. That's something I also want, some change to come out of this."

At the conclusion of the rally, there was a silent vigil to remember victims of gun violence.

Students from Duke, N.C. State and Elon University also participated.
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