On February 14, 2018, a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, took the lives of 17 people and left 14 others injured. While the general response to violent events like this from politicians has historically been an empty offering of thoughts and prayers, with more than 30 mass shooting incidents taking place in 2018 alone, survivors of the Parkland shooting and students across the country are calling for action both on and off social media.
Florida student Emma Gonzalez has been among the most vocal young activists. The 17-year-old spoke out at a rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and called B.S. on the way gun control is currently addressed by those in power. “They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call BS,” the high school senior said through tears in front of a supportive crowd. Gonzalez and other young activists are turning tragedy into action and people are taking notice. Planned demonstrations have garnered support from the likes of George and Amal Clooney, Julianne Moore, and Alyssa Milano.
The first demonstration will take place on March 14, 2018. The Women’s March Youth Empower group has called for a #NationalSchoolWalkout in which students, teachers, school administrators, parents, and allies will stage a walkout for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. across every time zone. “Students and allies are organizing the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets, and in our homes and places of worship,” a description on the group’s website reads.
Next, student organizers are planning a march in Washington, D.C., on March 24, 2018. The demonstration has been named March for Our Lives and is meant to serve as a call for school safety and gun control. According to the official website of the march, the mission of the protest is “to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.” Even if you can’t attend the march, you can make a donation or buy merchandise to fund organizing efforts across the country.
Finally, a movement called #NationalSchoolWalkout is calling for high school students to walk out for anti-gun violence on April 20, 2018, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. One of the organizers, Lane Murdock, is a student who lives in Connecticut near Sandy Hook Elementary School, NBC News reports. Stay up to date on student plans through the group’s Twitter page and sign their petition on Change.org.
With empowered young people ready to let their voices be heard, there is a resounding atmosphere of hope and change surrounding these peaceful demonstrations. If kids can stand up to politicians who they disagree with, so can the rest of the nation.