To commemorate the one-month anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, students across the country staged a 17-minute walkout to remember each of the people whose lives ended.
While response to the walkout itself has been mixed, the day’s events inspired much more than moments of silence for the iGeneration. Rallies and protests accompanied the walkout, and students carried signs unique to their own experiences and causes.
At Grace Church School in New York City, students walked in a procession ahead of the 10 a.m. walkout time to memorialize a school employee who died by gunshot near the school in November. Of the roughly 220 students participating (about two-thirds of the student body, Grace Church School chief communications officer Topher Nichols tells Yahoo Lifestyle), many carried signs with slogans ranging from lobs against the National Rifle Association to names of people those students knew personally who died from gun violence.
Students from Grace Church School joined those from Harvest Collegiate High School for a larger rally in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park, where hundreds of students and faculty gathered around speakers with a megaphone extolling the student organizers at the Parkland, Fla., high school and encouraging their peers to remain politically engaged, despite most of them being too young to vote. One student, watching the rally from the fringes, held a sign that read, “What if it was your friend?” and said a family friend died in the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Another sign, held by Nicholas Dumais from Harvest Collegiate, said, “I should be playing dodgeball, not dodging bullets.” Dumais explained that schools he’s attended have no trouble banning a game but haven’t banned weapons like guns.
Also in attendance at the rally was Tamika Mallory, a national co-chair for the Women’s March and advocate for gun-violence prevention. Mallory, speaking to the crowd through a megaphone, reminded kids that their voices were powerful enough to effect change, regardless of their age.
“Having these young people engaged on this level is exactly what we’ve been missing in terms of legislative reform, but just to change the hearts and minds of the people who are more attached to their guns than they are to our young people.”
Outside New York City, other young people put their politics on posters.
— Talia (@2020fight) March 13, 2018
national school walkout @ little rock central high school. honoring the students lost, not only at parkland but all students that have been killed by school shootings #booksnotbullets #walkout pic.twitter.com/O1DacxHbY9
— ag (@anniegmcc) March 14, 2018
The walkout was scheduled for 10 a.m. ET, and protests ended along with the school day, though the students seemed emboldened to continue to speak out beyond the day’s events.
“I wrote, ‘I should be worried about my SAT, not our lives,’ because my SAT is next week,” Roxanna Ruedas, a 16-year-old from Harvest Collegiate in New York, says. “There are proposals coming in for teachers to have guns in schools. What the hell? We’re starting a club every Friday, called Harvest Action. I think that’s a perfect name for the club.”
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