About 200 people showed up on the DeSoto County Courthouse lawn Saturday as part of the "March For Our Lives" nationwide movement.

People from across the U.S., mostly young people, protested publicly for gun control measures aimed at halting the deadly carnage caused by school shootings.

The march was one of hundreds happening around the country planned by students and survivors of gun violence in communities big and small, in all 50 states.

Hernando High School student Merrill Stewart organized Saturday's march in Hernando.

"When I first decided to do it, I thought only about 10 to 15 people would show up," Stewart, 18, said. "We are so blessed to have so many people show up."

A teacher who showed up to speak out on the issue said critics of young people and educators who voice concern over guns in school are unfairly characterized or stereotyped by their race and politics.

"It's not a black or a white thing — it's a God thing," said Dionne Carr of Tunica, a teacher in the Sunflower County School District.

Carr, who attended the University of Mississippi, said she wants her son to be able to finish high school and college without fear of being gunned down in the classroom.

Stewart said the call for gun control measures, such as proper enforcement of universal background checks and other "common sense" measures, is not going away anytime soon.

"People are going to keep protesting until they make a change," Stewart said. "I'm really thankful the word spread so quickly."

Nationally, more than 800,000 people attended a march in Washington, D.C. and similar marches and rallies were held around the country.

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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