To say February 14th’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida this past Wednesday was devastating would be a gross understatement.
Devastation isn’t the word. In fact, there are no words.
Yet, words are all we were afforded following the Valentine’s Day shooting. Calls for gun control, pointed fingers at slips in oversight, and your typical political gridlock jargon is all we’ve gotten the past two days.
It seems as if talk is all we as a nation have the guts to do.
Just seven weeks into 2018, there have been eight shootings at US schools that have resulted in injury or death. The 17 slain in Florida has stirred the hearts and rage of many, but unfortunately, it’s nothing new.
Despite making up a meager 5% of the words population, the United States is responsible for 31% of the worlds mass shootings. Just last year in Las Vegas, fifty-eight people were killed and more than 500 people were injured when a gunman took aim at the Harvest Music Festival. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. We’ve been here before, time and time again and talk is all that has happened.
Well, the kids are fed up.
On Friday, April 20th, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, students nationwide are planning to walkout of their schools. Not to discuss or debate politics, but to peacefully protest, in hopes of making a movement of change.
On Friday, April 20th we want students to attend school and then promptly WALK-OUT at 10:00 am. Sit outside your schools and peacefully protest. Make some noise. Voice your thoughts. "We are students, we are victims, we are change."
— National School Walkout (@schoolwalkoutUS) February 17, 2018
Using the hashtag #NationalSchoolWalkout, students are aiming to raise awareness and to ultimately unify all high school students across the country to combat gun violence and force Congress to make a legislative change. The group Tweeted yesterday,
“We want students to attend school and then promptly WALK-OUT at 10:00 am. Sit outside your schools and peacefully protest. Make some noise. Voice your thoughts. “We are students, we are victims, we are change.”
Just three days removed from the tragedy, the movement is already receiving support. The Women’s March group, which had successful turnout in each of their peaceful protests, is backing them and using their platform to help organize students across the country, using their hashtag #Enough.
“We need action,” the group said on a website promoting the event. “Students and allies are organizing the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship.”
Enough is enough!
Women's March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes at 10am on March 14, 2018. Join us in saying #ENOUGH!https://t.co/8ZE8uthRlZ pic.twitter.com/45yCZl4zDm
— Women's March (@womensmarch) February 16, 2018
Just like the students who have been moved to action, the women of the Women’s March knows it takes a collaborative effort disrupting everyone’s natural flow to incite real change. Senators, congressman, and political pundits do a great job in vocalizing their concern and offering their thoughts and prayers. But the students want and demand more.
Danielle Hogg, a student and survivor of Douglas High School shooting, put it in words perfectly when speaking to CNN:
“Ideas are great. Ideas are wonderful and they help you get re-elected… but what we really need is action. Please. This is the 18th one this year — that’s unacceptable. We’re children, you guys are the adults. You need to take some action play a role. Come together, get over your politics and work together.”
There’s no more waiting on adults. The future voters of America have spoken and they are demanding change.
The NRA and the pockets they feed may be beyond their reach, but on April 20th, these students are damn sure making sure their voices reach them sound and clear.