At least 10 marches in NJ Saturday call for end to gun violence
OCEAN CITY — Stefany Mayz was a child when the Columbine High School massacre shocked the United States in April 1999.
Now Mayz has two children of her own, who are about the same age as those killed in the latest high-profile mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas last month.
Sometimes, she said, it can be difficult to imagine leaving the world a better one for her kids to inherit.
"Seeing tragedy after tragedy, I've felt absolutely paralyzed with, what can I do to help? I need to take action. I need to do something," Mayz said.
In the short term, what Mayz has done is become the organizer of a March For Our Lives rally in Ocean City on Saturday.
It is one of 10 marches currently scheduled across New Jersey that are officially sanctioned through the March For Our Lives website.
'Way beyond' initially expected turnout
The flagship march is on Washington, D.C., where the website says participants plan to "demonstrate to our elected officials that we demand and deserve a nation free of gun violence."
Mayz is expecting a turnout of hundreds to cross the 9th Street bridge in Ocean City, starting on the public sidewalk at the bottom of the bridge at noon.
"When I first put this event together, I thought to myself I would be happy if 50 people showed up, but since then it's gone way beyond that," she said.
'Frustrating ... that we have to march again'
Mayz said it's sad for her to see statistics that suggest a wide majority of gun owners, including National Rifle Association members, support increased or enhanced background checks for gun buyers.
And those feelings intensify every time there is a new threat or scare, or actual incident.
"What's frustrating about this is the fact that we have to march again, that Sandy Hook happened, Parkland happened, I mean, March for Our Lives was born out of what happened in Parkland," she said. "The last month, May, there were only five days that a mass shooting didn't happen in the United States, and some of the worst ones happened over the last couple of weeks."
The best place to follow updates about the Ocean City march is the event's Facebook page, Mayz said, and information about how to participate in all scheduled New Jersey marches is at marchforourlives.com.
In addition to Ocean City, marches in Atlantic City and Toms River step off at 12 p.m. Saturday. One in Springfield begins at 8 a.m., Newark gets going at 10 a.m., and Roselle, Sewell, and Somerset start at 11 a.m.
Princeton and Asbury Park are later in the day, beginning at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. respectively.