Students at schools across the United States are protesting on Wednesday for the one-month anniversary of the Parkland massacre.
Most of the walkouts will last 17 minutes, representing the duration of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, reported The Washington Post. High school students in the Washington, D.C. area will stand for 17 minutes of silence — one minute for each Parkland victim — in front of the White House before venturing to the Capitol to speak with lawmakers.
Empower, a youth division of the Women’s March, planned the walkouts for 10 a.m. local time and recommended demands students could make to lawmakers, such as required background checks for the purchase of every firearm and an assault weapons ban, according to Fox News.
Parkdale High School student Amanya Paige, a Prince George’s County, Md. student, said students “won’t stand for the lack of gun control when it comes to school safety,” according to WaPo.
College students will also be participating in the Wednesday protests. University of Virginia student council president Sarah Kenny expects over 1,000 students and professors to take part in the event.
“In the past year, I felt a very dramatic shift in the sense of fear,” Kenny told WaPo, referring to both the Parkland massacre, as well as the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally in August. “I haven’t seen a protest or demonstration like this in my time at UVA…I’m anticipating it might be the biggest in decades.”
The school will commemorate the Parkland victims with 17 rings of its chapel bell.
“We want our Congress to know that some of us will be old enough to vote in the midterm elections, and the rest of us are going to be able to vote in 2020 or 2022, and they’re going to lose their job if they don’t do what we want to keep us safe,” Frederick Community College student Fatima Younis told WaPo.
Younis called for an assault weapon ban, an increase the age required to buy weapons, and the demilitarization of the police.
Wayne State College student Lauren Osborne reflected on the attitudes in her area toward the AR-15, the rifle used by Nikolas Cruz in the massacre.
“Plenty of ranchers I know use AR-15s because it’s a very customizable gun,” she told WaPo. “Plenty of people I know use those rifles every day in their work.”
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