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DC native and gun violence survivor to speak at March For Our Lives rally

20-year-old RuQuan Brown lost his high school teammate and his stepfather to gun violence.

WASHINGTON — About 50,000 people are expected to gather near the Washington Monument on Saturday for the second “March For Our Lives,” according to park permits. The first one took place four years ago after the Parkland school shooting in Florida. 

Now, after the school shooting at Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers, the student-led group plans to demand that politicians pass more gun regulations.

WUSA9 walked the March For Our Lives rally site with 20-year-old D.C. native RuQuan Brown as he prepared to speak in front of tens of thousands Saturday.

"Americans should be safe. Right now, we’re not. None of us are. We could literally be shot as we stand here and it would be normal and that is disgusting," said Brown.

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Brown’s high school teammate was shot to death in 2017. His own stepfather was murdered in 2018.

"I’m missing two very important people and what is life without home?" Brown asked.

Brown’s unique and tragic experience frames his message that gun violence is not just a school safety problem.

"I know there’s not much difference between the shooters that are pulling triggers in those school hallways and the shooters that are pulling triggers in our neighborhood streets," he said.

Graduating from Northwest D.C.’s Benjamin Banneker High School in 2020, Brown now studies linguistics at Harvard. He believes change is coming, no matter how long it takes.

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"Our children and grandchildren will live a life based on the fruit that we’re currently planting. This tree will take a long time to grow, but they will be able to pick fruit from it," he said. "That fruit and some of those seeds are things like universal background checks, raising the age to buy weapons."

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