Marfa residents hold March for Our Lives event, in solidarity with national movement

A small crowd of Marfa residents gathered last weekend with protest signs to promote gun reform in a march down Highland Avenue. Photo by Mary Cantrell

MARFA — Early Saturday morning, roughly two dozen Marfa residents flocked to the lawn of the Presidio County Courthouse to share their grief and anger over a recent string of mass shootings and to call for change.

Then, holding up signs calling for stricter gun laws, the group made their way down Highland Avenue to the USO Building, where the Marfa Saturday Market was setting up for the morning.

The event was a local iteration of the national March for Our Lives movement, the youth-led movement born out of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On Saturday, cities across the country participated in the national demonstration.

The matter weighed heavily on those gathered on the courthouse lawn, who spoke of the recent mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, where 19 students and two teachers were killed by a gunman. 

Marfa resident and president of the Blackwell School Alliance Gretel Enck gave an impassioned speech calling for a wide-ranging response to the problem of gun violence, including stricter gun laws, universal background checks, and better mental health resources. “It’s not either/or,” she said. “It’s yes, and.” 

She also spoke to the types of gun violence that call for attention — not just mass shootings, but suicides by gun and home shootings involving domestic violence. “There’s no single cure to gun violence because there’s no single cause, and there’s no one kind of gun violence” said Enck. 

Marfa resident Bob Schwab marched with the group from the courthouse to the USO building, where he proceeded to set up his table of fresh vegetables from his home garden. As he set up, he said he was deeply disturbed by the recent slaughter of school children and the persistent ability of Americans to purchase assault rifles despite the bloodshed.

“It’s the epitome of selfishness, to insist on having an assault weapon when it’s going to result in the horrifying deaths of children,” he said. “What could be more selfish than that?”