As the March for Our Lives began winding down Saturday afternoon, 15-year-old Mali Abel was one of the dozens of people who left her sign on the fence surrounding the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.
The green metal fence became a place for march participants to leave their final mark before heading home.
Abel and her mother, Sandra Finkelstein, reached the main stage area at 11 a.m. after driving from Rye, N.Y., the previous day. Her poster, inspired by other students, read, “I want to leave high school in a cap and gown, not a body bag.”
She said adults have failed children. “Kids are becoming the voices.”
Finkelstein participated in the Women’s March in Washington last year with her sister. This time, she marched with her daughter. “Today felt valid and necessary,” she said.
Not far away from Abel’s sign, 12-year-old Lily Hausler and her family, who flew from Bend, Ore., contributed five posters to the pile.
Hausler said she hears politicians talk plenty about building a wall along the Mexican border but not enough about keeping students such as her safe.
Next, she plans to write a letter to her congressman demanding change. She said she intends to carry on the spirit of activism she learned from the speakers. “I just want to encourage those in charge to fix this,” she said.