On Monday throughout the country, tens of thousands of students walked out of their classrooms, making their statement to end gun violence. Gathering onto athletic fields and city streets students responded to the recent Florida high school shooting in which 17 died.
The major cities of New York, Washington, Chicago, Seattle, as well as hundreds of smaller towns and communities witnessed student walkouts.
The student demonstrations were mostly approved by school administrators. Many school officials even coordinated walkouts.
But reports state there were some schools where protest were no allowed, or where students were penalized for walking out.
The walkout preceded a scheduled March 24 student march on Washington that is expected to draw hundreds of thousands.
Walkout and march supporters assert that the demonstrations realize emerging dissatisfaction among young people with the state of the country and world they will inherit. Young Americans, having grown up in an age of continual wars, mass shootings, and bitter national politics, are now demanding that the value of their lives be protected.
Many walkout participants have consistently expressed frustration with adults and political leaders whose actions — or lack thereof — have not addressed gun violence, school safety, and mental health issues, creating less safe conditions for them and their peers.
Without expressing party preference, walkout demonstrators intend to make an impact this election year on both Republicans and Democrats, with the demand of effective outcomes in student safety.
Women’s March Youth Empower, one of the lead coordinators of Wednesday’s walkouts, is demanding that lawmakers increase the age for people to purchase weapons, ban military-style weapons and demilitarize police forces.
Fatima Younis, a student organizer with Women’s March Youth Empower stated, “We want our Congress to know that some of us will be old enough to vote in the midterm elections, and the rest of us are going to be able to vote in 2020 or 2022, and they’re going to lose their job if they don’t do what we want to keep us safe.”
Politicians and administration officials in Washington D.C. were greeted by hundreds of local high school and middle school students who assembled at the White House with signs protesting gun violence and disparaging those who are in opposition to taking measures for gun control.
At 10AM, the gathering silently sat down with their backs to the White House, fists and signs held high, to honor the Stoneman Douglas victims — one minute for each of the 17 dead.
At 10:17 they stood up and chanted “We want change!”
Across the country, in both red and blue states, students expressed an outpouring of grief and solidarity with schools and victims’ families, as well as an impassioned demand for politicians to act.
Find more on Monday’s student walkout at The Washington Post: Thousands of students walk out of school in nationwide gun violence protest, the source of this information.