At 10am on 14 March, the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students, teachers, school administrators and parents across America staged a 17-minute mass walkout to fight for changes in US gun laws – one minute for every life lost in the tragedy on 14 February.
Organisers from the Youth Empower arm of the Women’s March movement declared, “We are living in an age where young people like us do not feel safe in our schools. This issue is personal for all of us, especially for those of us who are survivors of gun violence. We raise our voices for action against all these forms of gun violence.”
Among the powerful, hand-painted protest banners held aloft during the walkout were the slogans, “Enough is enough,” “Never again,” “Am I next?” and “We are the future. Protect us.”
The teen activists continued, “Congress must take meaningful action to keep us safe and pass federal gun reform legislation that addresses the public health crisis of gun violence.” The proposed action includes banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, expanding background checks for all gun sales and blocking any legislation that would aim to fortify schools with more guns.
Students in the New York borough of Queens show their solidarity with teens across America
The National Schools Walkout took place ahead of this week’s March For Our Lives in Washington, DC, where protesters will unite in a rally organised by the Parkland survivors for sustained action to end gun violence on 24 March.
Joining them in Washington will be George and Amal Clooney. “Our family will be there on 24 March to stand side by side with this incredible generation of young people from all over the country. And in the name of our children, Ella and Alexander, we’re donating US$500,000 to help pay for this groundbreaking event,” they revealed. “Our children’s lives depend on it.”
The Clooneys’ donation was matched by Gucci, with Creative Director Alessandro Michele also pledging his support. “I am truly moved by the courage of these students. My love is with them and it will be next to them on 24 March. I am standing with March for Our Lives and the strong young women and men across the United States who are fighting for their generation and those to come.”
Photos: Getty Images and Reuters