When Is The Student Walkout? Florida Shooting Survivors Are Rallying For Gun Control
Students across the nation are planning a giant protest to advocate for gun control in America. The organizers behind the Women's March on Washington are also involved, and when the Florida shooting student walkout happens, it will be exactly one month after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which left 17 students and teachers dead.
"We are not safe at school. We are not safe in our cities and towns," the Facebook event for the protest, called "Enough! National Student Walkout" reads. "Congress must take meaningful action to keep us safe and pass federal gun reform legislation that address the public health crisis of gun violence."
In the days following the shooting, students who survived have been demanding Congress take action regarding gun control. Thoughts and prayers are not enough this time, they say.
"If all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see," said Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "Since the time of the Founding Fathers and since they added the Second Amendment to the Constitution, our guns have developed at a rate that leaves me dizzy. The guns have changed but our laws have not."
The #Enough walkout was the idea of EMPOWER, the Woman's March youth branch. This event comes after a group of students organized a walkout in South Florida on Feb. 16, and others held a rally in Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 17, where people gathered to protest Congress' inaction when it comes to gun laws in the United States.
Students will stage the mass walkout at 10 a.m. on March 14 and it will last for 17 minutes — one minute for each victim of the massacre. While the event started as just one walkout, it quickly grew, spreading to dozens of schools across America.
Survivors of the Florida shooting don't want to allow Congress to dismiss this massacre and continue with the gun laws as they are. There were no changes to gun laws in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre in October 2017, when 58 people were killed. Accessibility to AR-15s and bump stocks, which convert regular firearms into semi-automatic weapons, hasn't changed.
The group is also planning an additional protest in Washington, D.C. on March 24 at an event organized by March For Our Lives, and there's another national walkout slated for April 20, which marks the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting in Colorado, when 13 students and teachers were killed in 1999.
In addition to Parkland, Florida, other cities involved in the #Enough walkout include San Francisco, New Orleans, and New York City. You can find a full map of all the cities involved on the organization's site.
"We want Congress to pay attention," the group wrote, "and take note: many of us will vote this November and many others will join in 2020."
A lot of people are also calling out which politicians have received money from the National Rifle Association, like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan, and are vowing to no longer support any candidate who doesn't vocally advocate for stronger gun control.
This upcoming #Enough walkout, along with other accompanying events protesting the lack of gun control in America, are the survivors' way of saying enough is enough when it comes to mass shootings in the United States. "The people in the government who are voted into power are lying to us," Gonzalez said. "And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and are prepared to call BS."