Written by Madalyn Chapman
“The adults have failed us. This is in our hands now. And if any elected official gets in our way, we will vote them out and replace them ourselves,” said a student, standing with his back to the Capitol building on Wednesday, March 14.
On March 14, 2018, high school students all across the nation participated in 17-minute walkouts at 10 a.m. in the participating school’s time zone. The walkouts took place exactly one month after the deadly mass shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left fourteen students and three faculty members dead. The duration of the walkout was aimed to represent those seventeen lives that were lost. Though some adults were inclined to believe it was simply an excuse to get out of class, students called for action on behalf of their lawmakers to end gun violence, not just in schools, but in their communities and every space across the United States.
The walkouts were an effort organized by the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER group and were shared heavily on social media in order to get the word out. Teachers, parents, school administrators and other allies were also encouraged to participate, but it was organized entirely by students. It was the first of two major events that were planned in order to pressure lawmakers into working on legislation that will increase gun control, and consequently decrease gun violence.
The second major event that will be taking place is the March For Our Lives, happening this Saturday, March 24. The main march, started by the students from Parkland, Florida, will be starting at 10 a.m. in Washington, D.C. This march is also aimed to push lawmakers to work harder on gun safety regulations and enforcing stricter gun control policies.
Since the announcement of the original D.C. march, 823 more “sister marches” have popped up all across the country. If you are interested in taking part, the one nearest to Roanoke College is at Virginia Tech at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. You can also find more information on their website: marchforourlives.com.