National School Walkouts Planned

walkout

High school and college students across the country will join their peers in walkouts on March 14, 2017, to protest Congress’ apparent “refusal to take action on the gun violence epidemic plaguing [America’s] schools and neighborhoods,” according to organizers.

Women’s March Youth Empower views this as another step in a movement for the prevention of gun violence protection. Their decades-long action honors all those who are victims of Congress’ inaction, such as James Brady, Trayvon Martin, Planned Parenthood in Colorado, Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine High School, Santa Monica College, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, to name a few.

They state their reasoning for the movement is that there is no safety in schools, cities, and towns. They want to push Congress to take action. Furthermore, they want Congress to pay attention and remember that many of the protesters will vote in the 2018 elections. Current high school seniors will be adding their votes in 2020.

Their walkout objectives are:

  • “Students and staff have the right to learn and teach in an environment free from fear of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school.
  • Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day.
  • We all have the right to live few from fear and violence in our community.”

On the 14th, (#NationalSchoolWalkout) more than 2,500 schools around the country will be participating in the first of three planned events. “Nothing has spurred such widespread teen activism since the Vietnam War,” according to the Portland Press Herald.

#MarchForOurLives will take place on March 24th. Wisconsin students will be marching 50 miles to Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) home to push their message.

Then, on April 20th, another #NationalSchoolWalkout will take place.

The Sandy Hook Promise movement in Newtown, Pennsylvania, will be holding vigils, rallies, marches, voter registration and more during this time.

Women’s March Youth Empower Demands

The group demands Congress declare gun violence is a public health crisis. They insist politicians dedicate federal funds to research solutions and implement intervention programs. Moreover, the group wants Congress “to recognize all forms of gun violence, including violence committed by police.”

Policies they consider priorities:

  • The banning of assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
  • Expanding background checks to all gun sales.
  • Passing a gun violence restraining order law.
  • An act to stop militarizing law enforcement.

They strongly oppose concealed weapons and any legislation that would allow guns in schools.

There are still some school districts that have not decided whether or not they will allow students to take 17 minutes out of the day to honor those who died a month ago in Parkland, Florida. The organizers have prepared information about the walkout, how to safely protest, and how to obtain permission for the #Enough!

Further stories about this movement and Washington’s reactions will be posted here as the events take place.

By Cathy Milne

Sources:

Portland Press Harald: Maine high school students to join national walkout for gun control
Women’s March: #Enough! National School Walkout
CNN: What you need to know about the national school walkout

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