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Everything you need to know about Saturday’s March for Our Lives in St. Louis

Maplewood Richmond Heights students honor victims killed at a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month during a walkout Wednesday, March 14, 2018.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio
Maplewood Richmond Heights students honor victims killed at a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month during a walkout Wednesday, March 14, 2018.

Thousands of people are expected to march through downtown St. Louis to protest gun violence on Saturday. They’ll walk a 2-mile route with March for Our Lives STL, one of hundreds of student-led rallies planned for this weekend.

Student organizers, survivors of gun violence and local leaders, including Rep. Bruce Franks, will speak at the event. City officials say they’re prepared to accommodate up to 10,000 marchers.

What is March for Our Lives?

More than 800 March for Our Lives rallies are planned this weekend worldwide. The event centers around a Washington, D.C., rally organized by student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

Parkland teens began the #NeverAgain social media movement after the shooting. High school students around the country then began organizing school walkouts and rallies to protest gun violence and to pressure lawmakers to tighten gun regulations.

Local organizer Haley Zink said the St. Louis event doesn’t have specific legislative goals. Its speakers hope to raise awareness of the broader context of gun violence in the region.

“We’ve never gone to a school where gun violence isn’t normalized,” Zink said. “This is catalyzed by students, but gun violence is so much more than school shootings, so much more than mass shootings.”

The march's planned 2-mile route starts at Aloe Plaza, heads east down Market Street, then turns around at Kiener Plaza to head back west on Pine Street. In the event of severe weather, the march will be shortened to a small loop. March 24, 2018.
Mapbox, OpenStreetMap

When and where does the rally begin?

The 2-mile march begins at 10:15 a.m. at Aloe Plaza, across the street from Union Station. The route heads east along Market Street, then turns north on Seventh Street before heading back west along Pine Street. In the event of thunderstorms, organizers will shorten the route to a half mile by turning at 17th Street, instead of Seventh Street.

Police will close roads as needed during the march; physical or long-term barricades will not be placed, city officials said.

What’s the best way to get to the rally?

Organizers and Metro Transit officials recommend taking public transportation to avoid traffic and road construction.

If taking MetroLink, get off at Union Station. MetroLink officials say they may add extra trains if platforms become crowded. Riders with accessibility needs should know that the elevator at the Union Station stop is out of service. MetroLink said those with accessibility needs should go to the Civic Center station.

More than 15 MetroBus routes stop at the Civic Center station at 14th Street and Clark Avenue, which is two blocks from Union Station. Some buses may reroute during the march. Watch Rider Alerts for more information on route changes.

Ride-share company Lyft is also offering free rides for March for Our Lives attendees across the country. Organizers recommend scheduling in advance due to high demand.

Who’s speaking at the rally?

Rep. Bruce Franks, D-St. Louis, and the Rev. Darryl Gray will speak in Aloe Plaza following upon completion of the march route. Other speakers include St. Louis-area substitute teacher Marshata Caradine, student organizers and Liesl Fressola, a survivor of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

A benefit concert to raise money for nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety will be held Friday at Foam.

Follow Kae on Twitter: @kmaepetrin

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