By the students, for the students: The walkout for gun control

J-Lynn Torres, Reporter

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After first period on Friday, April 20th, students poured into the hallways as usual. However, as they flooded the staircase and made their way down to the first floor, students could be spotted holding cardboard posters with markers and sharpies under their arms.

The stream of iSchool protestors joins a sea of students gathered at Washington Square Park.

April 20th, 2018, marked the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado. That day sparked conversation about gun violence, which has only been reignited following the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, back in February. On this anniversary, students all across the country left school to demand gun reform.

The Youth Activism Club took it upon themselves to inform all students about the day’s events. The iSchool’s involvement in the nationwide event was, ultimately, planned and executed by this club.

An array of signs on cardboard and poster paper are lifted into the air. The figures cloaked in white represent victims of mass shootings.

Sophomore adie Krichmar is a member of the club. The day before the walkout, I spoke to her as she and other members decorated cardboard signs, which were later distributed to empty-handed students.

“We’ve been keeping up with current events and talking about different trends in gun violence, specifically how it disproportionately affects people of color,” she stated. “We’ve been making posters, and we’ve been talking about planning for the walkout.”

Students from all across the city gathered for the events.

Sadie also talks about how important it is for young people to become involved in political discussions: “Not to sound cheesy,” she says smiling, “but we are the future. If we don’t work hard to create a world that we want to live in, than it’s not going to be there for us.”

“the lives of innocent children > every gun in the USA”

“No one is ever going to do anything for us,” she remarks profoundly, “and no one is going to try to make the changes. It has to be us that cares enough to make a difference.”

In the age of social media, it’s often stated that young people are becoming increasingly concerned with trivial matters. However, the walkout demonstrated how focused students today are on issues inflicting the country. Students are showing that they have the capability to look past themselves and use their energy to create positive change.

“It gives people a sense of being part of a community that’s bigger than themselves,” Sadie says. “I think it’s hard sometimes to care about things outside of school because school feels so restricting. But it really isn’t if you just find the right issue and things that you care about.”

Students stay silent and seated as the names of gun violence victims are listed.

Gabriela Lebron, a freshman and one of the students who attended the rally, certainly feels that way: “I felt so empowered. It allowed students to come together and voice their opinions about this very important topic. ”

Also in attendance were various speakers. Some were passionate young activists, others politicians, and some were the survivors of mass shootings; people who witnessed and felt the consequences of lax gun control first-hand.

“The speakers were all very inspiring.  There was a survivor from Colombine who spoke about her experiences,” says Gabriela, “There was also a survivor from the Pulse Night Club, who gave a very moving speech about that horrific tragedy.  They were just two of the

Despite the largeness of the crowd, all paid apt attention to the student speakers.

many speakers who gave amazing speeches.  But all of the speakers really spoke about how important this issue is, and shined a light on multiple different issues; all in relation to gun control.”

What was the aim of the walkout? To cause turbulence. Speaking before the walkout, Sadie comments, “I hope that it disrupts the flow of not just the school, but the whole city’s education system, and show that students really care and that we have a voice. What’s the point of anything if people don’t notice

 it? It will be noticeable, there will be thousands of kids that won’t be in classroom.”