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Thousands protest gun violence at student-led demonstrations across Michigan

Marches for stricter gun laws happened all across Michigan and the U.S. today.

Thousands of people gathered in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, and several other Michigan cities.

In Lansing, about 2,000 people walked from the Hall of Justice to the State Capitol, carrying signs and chanting.

A family holds signs at the March for Our Lives event in Lansing.
Credit Cheyna Roth / MPRN
Marissa Thaler walked in the March for Our Lives with her family.

Kayden Moore is a 6th grader in Jackson. He loves math and science. And he’s had to do active shooter drills at his school.

“It’s kind of scary ‘cause sometimes you don’t know if it’s happening or not," he said. "Sometimes they tell you if it’s a practice, but sometimes they don’t.”

Once at the Capitol, lawmakers, candidates, and students spoke. They called for safer schools through measures like banning assault rifles and stricter background checks.

How free are we we’re too afraid to go to the mall, to go to the movie theater, to go to school? How are we free if we’re too scared to live?” the Lansing event's organizer, Cydney Jenkins, told a cheering crowd. Jenkins is a student at North Farmington High School.           

In February, a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida claimed 17 lives. Since then there’s been an increase in threats reported at schools across Michigan. Police say they’re taking every threat seriously.

“The other day a door got slammed, and my first thought was a gunshot," said march participant Marissa Thaler, an elementary school art teacher in Waverly – near Lansing. "And then my second thought was, I can’t believe my first thought was gunshot.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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