GCP parents, did your children participate in the walkout today? Students across the country walked out of their schools today in a well-coordinated national protest against gun violence and to mark one month since a mass shooting left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Many of the student demonstrations were designed to last for 17 minutes, one minute for each student killed in Parkland. Many of them were held in silence. In solidarity, MTV, Nickelodeon, and BET went off the air at 10am for 17 minutes. Some schools hosted demonstrations that lasted longer, including one that took place in front of the White House. A larger national student demonstration, “March For Our Lives” is planned for March 24th in Washington, D.C.
Students across the country have been spurred into action by the Parkland students’ outraged response to the horrific event shooting. These students quickly took to social media to express their disappointment and anger with lawmakers’ unwillingness to pass stricter gun control measures. Their protests are being heard and acknowledged by lawmakers. Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a gun bill last Friday that raised the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 in direct response to the students’ protests.
Today’s walkout included black and brown students, who had not been a predominant part of the initial movement. Several black students who participated in today’s events noted that while their fight against gun violence was focused more on shootings outside of schools and police shootings, they were glad that the anti-gun violence movement was getting so much attention and wanted to be a part of it. Many acknowledged the unfortunate fact that it took white students to draw national attention to an issue that black students have been outraged about for some time, but this didn’t stop these black and brown students from getting involved. It may have helped that the Parkland students readily acknowledged that the privilege of being mostly white and from an affluent community had helped draw attention to their cause, and they are vowing to use this privilege to focus on broader gun control issues. You can read more about this here.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. noted, “Mass civil disobedience can use rage as a constructive and creative force.” Kudos to the students participating in this national effort to curb gun violence for doing just that. Talk with your children about these efforts, as history is being made.