After survivors of the February 14th school shooting in Parkland, Florida spent the past month calling for gun control reform, their efforts culminated in solidarity protests around the country. National School Walkout Day was observed at schools from Maine to California, with students demanding stricter gun control laws.
The National School Walkout Day was organized by the youth wing of the Women’s March, and more than 3,100 schools officially participated in the event, according to the organization’s website. At 10 a.m. in every timezone, students gathered outside their schools for 17 minutes of silence to honor the 17 people killed in the Parkland shooting. They wore orange and held up homemade signs, chanted “We want change,” and demanded that members of Congress take action against the NRA and pass stricter gun control laws. Some students even risked disciplinary action to protest.
Students in high schools, middle schools, and below were all born after the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School, so they have never known a world without mass shootings. Outrage about this fact fueled some of the protests, as one Columbine student, Kaylee Tyner, explained to Julie Turkewitz of the New York Times.
As the National School Walkout Day protests began, powerful messages filled Twitter.
Some students remembered the friends they had lost to gun violence, while others called for policy change.
And proud adults cheered them on.
Politicians recognized the protests, too.
Even Adam Rippon supported the students.
Seeing the students and school staff members who used National School Walkout Day to call for gun control reform makes us optimistic for the future. And thankfully, those of us who are out of school but wish we could have joined today’s walkout can join a March for Our Lives protest on March 24th. We need to end gun violence now, and we will stand by the courageous students who are working to do just that. To everyone who marched today: Thank you.