In the days since 21 lives were stolen during a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, countless young people have stepped up to organize and demand action in the form of serious gun reform in this nation. Students should be able to have safety and security in school, and shouldn’t ever be expected to survive all of this emotional trauma, and yet here we are. Students organizing and protesting are incredibly brave and mature, but they shouldn’t have to be.
On perhaps the biggest scale, youth organizers with March for Our Lives are planning nationwide protests now, including one in Washington, D.C., on June 11. Organizers plan to meet with lawmakers on the hill on the days before and after the protest to discuss the clear (and minimum) need for universal background checks. The group is also planning to protest outside of the next National Rifle Association (NRA) conference in Houston, Texas.
As of Thursday, dozens of students across the country have organized protests and walkouts at their schools. Let’s check out some of these smaller scale, but still incredibly moving, efforts below.
In a coordinated effort with Students Demand Action, a nationwide call for action and walkout is occurring on Thursday, May 26 at noon Eastern. The call to action includes students, school staff, teachers, and parents and asks people to step outside of their classrooms and protest on campus. As of now, close to 100 events are scheduled either on the 26 or the following weekend.
In Wisconsin, students at Whitefish Bay high school are organizing a walkout on Thursday, March 26 to protest gun violence and grieve for the lives stolen at the Uvalde shooting. Notably (and sadly) this protest had already been in the works for the last month in recognition of a 13-year-old student shot and killed in Milwaukee last month, per local outlet FOX 6.
Principal Sean Bevan of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, Massachusetts emailed parents following a protest at his school saying that “maybe even a few hundred” students participated in the student-organized walkout, which according to Bevan, lasted 21 minutes, “one minute for each of the students and staff” that were killed. Students read John Donne’s “No Man is an Island” and read the name of each victim every 21 seconds, per his statement as covered by local site My Southborough.
During a walkout in Buffalo, New York, 10th-grader Olivia Telecky told local outlet WCCO that she shouldn’t have to “worry” about her life “every single day” she walks into school, but she does. She added that every time she sees a school shooting on the news, she wonders if it’s going to be her next and that it’s hard to imagine her future when she worries about making it out of high school.
Middle schoolers in Eugene, Oregon protested today, and organizer Piper Everts spoke to local station KLCC and said she and her peers always have to worry if this is “going to be the day that they come to our school” and that they worry about their safety when they shouldn’t to. “There are perfectly good laws that can be put in place that haven’t been,” the 8th-grader told the outlet.
Here are more images and videos from protests across the country.
Have you participated in any calls to action related to gun reform? I’d love to hear what your experience was like and how your community came together.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.