This short speech captured everything hopeful about the March for Our Lives rally.

We knew they'd be powerful and poignant. And they still amazed us.

From the very beginning, the student activists at the March for Our Lives on March 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C., grabbed our attention and didn't let go.

And they had a message for our nation's political leaders who still haven't taken meaningful action on gun violence:


"Either represent the people or get out," Parkland, Florida, student Cameron Kasky said, kicking off the day's string of incredible speeches. "Stand for us or beware: The voters are coming."

It was more than an inspiring speech; it was a direct call to action with specific demands — a ban on assault weapons, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and a call for universal background checks.

"This is more than just a march," Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Delaney Tarr said soon after. "This is more than just one day, one event, then moving on."

As much as their stories have moved us emotionally, Tarr and those who followed her quickly made it clear their purpose was about real, tangible action.

"We will continue to fight for common sense. We will continue to fight for our lives. We will continue to fight for our dead friends."

But one student in particular made an unforgettable impression on the crowd.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

When Washington, D.C., native Zion Kelly took the stage, he shared a heartbreaking story of losing his twin brother Zaire to gun violence. "Today, I raise my hand in honor of my twin brother, Zaire Kelly," he said, speaking with a clear tone of strength and conviction even as tears filled his eyes.

Kelly then asked those in attendance, "Raise your hand if you've been affected by gun violence."

17-year-old Zaire was killed by an armed assailant while walking home from a college-prep class in September 2017. Zion and his family have been working to support gun safety measures in D.C.

"Just like you, I've had enough," he said.

It was a powerful moment, where cameras captured the fact that the entire section in front of the stage was reserved for those directly affected by gun violence, connecting direct faces with the epidemic.

We saw the next generation of leaders step forward — and the future is brighter than ever.

They made us cry and made us angry with their stories of pain and frustration. But the young adults speaking in Washington, D.C., and at rallies around the country also made it clear they have taken charge of a movement that adults have failed to make real progress on.

It's a youth-driven political movement unlike any America has seen since the Vietnam War and one that is fueled by a generation better equipped to use new tools of activism like social media to move past the forces that stand in their way.

Read more on the March for Our Lives with stories on Parkland student Emma Gonzalez’s emotional silence, outstanding protest signs, photos from around the country, and moving words from little kids.

And if you want to support the anti-gun-violence movement, we have a quiz for the best way you can help.

via Travis Akers / Twitter

A tweet thread by Travis Akers, a Navy Lieutenant with 17 years of service, is going viral because it shows just how sweet children can be and also points to an overlooked issue facing military families.

In the early morning of April 12, Akers tweeted a photo of himself and his seven-year-old son Tanner who he affectionately calls "Munchie." Akers was moved because his son set his alarm clock so he could get up early enough to hand him a pocket full of Legos before work.

Tanner wanted to be sure his father had something to play with at the Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida. "This was my daily morning trip to base, departing my house at six am for work," Akers told Upworthy.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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