March For Our Lives: 50 Miles More


Krista Olson-Lehman / Clarion

Selame Caldart, Alemitu Caldart and Hiwot Schutz perform a spoken word poem about gun violence at the rally in Janesville after the 50 Miles More march from Madison.

Krista Olson-Lehman, Staff Writer

On March 24, students around the USA joined together in the “March For Our Lives,” happening in Washington DC, and in cities all over the country, including Madison. A group of Wisconsin High School students, however, decided that wasn’t enough. On March 25, they started the trek from Madison to Janesville, called “50 Miles More.” The march was an idea from a group of suburban Milwaukee students from Shorewood High School.

The students took inspiration from civil rights marches in the 60s, specifically Martin Luther King Jr.’s March in Selma, Alabama. The students’ wanted to bring the energy and message about starting the conversation about gun control to Speaker Paul Ryan’s hometown, Janesville. According to the group’s website, they are singling out Ryan to lead Congress in sensible gun reform.

The 54-mile route took about 40 students from Wisconsin high schools from Madison to Traxler Park in Janesville for a rally on March 28. After four days, the students were met with a crowd of around 200 supporters holding signs, cheering, and chanting things like “no more silence, end gun violence.”

Students laid out what they would like to see Ryan and Congress work on in a series of speeches. Ideas include:

  • Better background checks
  • A four day waiting period on gun purchases
  • A ban on accessories that change semiautomatic guns into fully automatic guns
  • The legal age to purchase guns to be raised to 21

Maria Amendola, a student at Craig High School in Janesville, where Ryan also attended school, wiped away tears as she spoke to the crowd. Three more students, Selame Caldart, Alemitu Caldart, and Hiwot Schutz recited a spoken word poem on gun violence. Tatiana Washington, a Milwaukee high school student, read an open letter to Ryan, saying “we are pissed off, Paul.”

Pardeep Kaleka, a victim of gun violence himself after his father was killed in the Sikh temple shooting in Milwaukee in 2012, addressed the crowd. “I’m humbled to have this space,” he said, as he thanked the students for allowing him to speak of the importance of listening to our young people, embracing love over fear, and working towards a better future together.

The students had one important message to get across. This is not the end. They encourage other students across the United States to organize their own marches. Information can be found at and students can fill out a form giving information about their school, and which elected representative they’d like to march to. Marchers encourage other students from other states to get on board and keep the message moving.