Students walk out to speak out against gun violence

Lulu, In-Depth Editor

Exactly one month after the Parkland Shooting, 350 Madison students walked out of their Warhawk Time and gathered onto the football field in protest of gun violence. Organized by Women’s March Youth Empower, this nationwide walk out encouraged students to leave their classes for 17 minutes, in honor of the 17 lives that were lost during the recent school shooting in Florida. During this time, Katie Olivera (’18)  led a team of juniors and seniors who spoke to the crowd about gun control and encouraged the students to take action.

“I wanted students to know that there are going to be more events happening after the walkout, and that their voice will be heard by government officials to demand change,” One of the speakers, Ryan Carney (’19), said. “Innocent teenagers should not be killed due to the lack of action.”

March 14 marked the first nationwide coordination of a student protest, with high schoolers from every state, including Parkland, FL, taking a stand against gun violence. Decked with posters, the student protesters united themselves under the hashtag #NeverAgain, which emerged after the Douglas High School students began advocating for a change to end school shootings. The next nationwide school walkout has been planned to take place on April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine shooting.

“I was very upset [by the Parkland shooting], but I also felt numb to it. It is sad that we just expect school shootings now,” Reva Joshi (’18) said. “I am glad that the outcome is what it is now. I am glad that people are standing up and speaking out, especially the students that are doing that.”

The unprecedented wave of student action ignited by the Douglas students has also been swept over Madison, with multiple students creating their own initiatives to encourage change. Helen Roades (’18) has created an after school organization, sponsored by Amnesty International, where students can call their local representatives and urge change. Adam Anderson (’19) designed and is selling shirts for the DC protest on March 24. Simmi Cilluffo (‘18)  and Nehal Jain (‘18) created postcards for the walkout participants to write on and personalize, which will be personally delivered to Virginia’s Government representatives.