Then, after hearing about the Parkland students organizing the national “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C., the 11th grader at Severn School knew she could do something about gun violence, too. So, Mackenzie founded “March For Our Lives: Annapolis.” Inspired by the students and their activism after facing such a tragedy, she wanted to do the same on a local level. Mackenzie organized a group of five other girls to help her with the planning committee. They partnered with March On Maryland for logistics and permitting, but otherwise, Mackenzie and her group made all of the decisions about the march.
Prior to the march, Mackenzie wrote and sent out press releases about the event and met with various members of the media for interviews. She attended sign making events and worked hard on spreading the word about the march throughout the community and on social media. She emailed teacher associations throughout the state to invite teachers and school employees to come to the march, and invited student government associations from each county.
On March 24th, the day of the march, Mackenzie was there bright and early, ready for interviews to spread the word, and set up. She was the opening speaker for the rally, and the closing speaker. After that, she and her friends led the group from Lawyer’s Mall in Annapolis down Main Street to City Dock. There, she and her fellow organizers had set up an opportunity for anyone to speak to the crowd, and they also had a large banner for participants to sign, asking politicians to “Keep our Kids Safe.” Approximately 2,500 people attended the march.
After the march, Mackenzie sent her group’s objectives in letters of recommendations to every single elected official at the State House and to the governor. She then hosted two round-table discussions with candidates running for office this November.
The Capital Gazette shooting in June was jarring to Mackenzie, to say the least. Her grandfather Bill Burton had been a columnist there for more than a decade, and she had gotten to know reporters and Capital staff while organizing the march. Mackenzie was honored to play “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes at the vigil, and at the benefit concert in July.
Fighting for gun safety has become Mackenzie’s passion, and she continues to find solutions to gun violence and how to make students feel safer in schools. You can follow her fight at facebook.com/MarchForOurLivesAnnapolis.
To meet all of the 2018 Standout Students, click here.