Actress & Director Chloe Aktas, Charlotte native and recent NYU film school grad, joined the CWM bus riders for the trip to DC last Saturday for the March For Our Lives event. Days before the trip, a last minute seat opened up… Jan Anderson, CWM President, invited Chloe as her guest, asking only that she promise to write about her experience:
I wanted to first and foremost thank you for allowing me to use the ticket to attend the march. I had an incredible experience and I cannot thank you enough for giving me this opportunity.
I heard the most incredible speeches from young men and women across the nation sharing their deeply personal stories about loved ones they lost to gun violence. It was incredibly eye-opening and sobering to hear these brave young adults share their pain, but most of all their hope for a better future.
Further, there was such a spirit of support and love emanating from the crowd. Whenever a speaker began to cry, the people standing to my left and right began to cry. Whenever a speaker felt like they couldn’t continue their prepared speech, the crowd would cheer in support.
There was a poignant moment when all of the students and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas walked by me to get onto the stage. They held up signs with the faces of the victims. People in the crowd offered them tissues and water.
One moment that I loved was when Martin Luther King’s granddaughter came on stage and led a call and response with the audience, using the same phrases her grandfather used when leading the Civil Rights protests.
Another one of my favorite moments was when a student from Douglas performed a spoken word poem titled “Enough.” She became so overcome with emotion that she threw up on stage. The audience cheered and encouraged her to finish her poem. After she finished her recitation, she lead the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” for one of the victims in the shooting. He would have turned 18 years old on the day of the march.
In addition to speeches from Douglas students there were also speeches from Sandy Hook students and speeches from young men and women in inner cities where gun violence has been prevalent for their entire childhood.
The speakers from Sandy Hook presented the Douglas students with a banner. On it were messages of support and love from the Sandy Hook survivors to the Douglas students. It was incredibly moving to see these two communities coming together to support one another.
I’m so thankful to have been able to attend this march. I feel so good that I was able to support this cause and to support all the brave survivors.
Thank you again for everything. This was truly a life changing experience.
All my best,
Chloe’s photo by Glenn Roberson, Hair&Make-Up:Michelle Spieler
#CharlotteWomensMarch #MoreThanAMarch #MarchForOurLives