‘Enough’: US students come together in spectacular walkout to end gun violence
About 3,000 schools across America protest in unprecedented expression of mourning and a demand for action
Thousands of students poured out of classrooms in the US on Wednesday in an unprecedented expression of mourning and a demand for action to stem the countrys epidemic of gun violence.
In a stunning visual riposte to the public inertia that has followed mass shootings in the US, crowds of students at an estimated 3,000 schools across the country marched on running tracks, through parking lots and around building perimeters, carrying signs that read Enough and chanting, Hey hey, ho ho, gun violence has got to go.
The walkout fell one month after a student gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, in the deadliest high school shooting in the countrys history. Survivors of that massacre joined other student activists to organize Wednesdays demonstration, which was promoted by the Womens March movement that sprang up after the election of Donald Trump.
There were lots of emotions, many people were crying. We were thinking of the 17 we lost, said Florence Yared, a third-year student at Stoneman Douglas, who joined 3,000 of her schoolmates on the schools football pitch, where exactly one month ago many were running for their lives.
Students elsewhere filled sidewalks in Brooklyn, kneeled in hallways in a Georgia high school, stood silently in a row in Virginia, and sat in a group with backs turned on the White House. Most demonstrations were planned to last 17 minutes, one for each of the Parkland victims.
In some school districts, student leaders and administrators agreed ahead of time on plans for the protest that did not include a physical walk-out from the school building. At Booker T Washington high school in Atlanta, Georgia once attended by Martin Luther King Jr students decided to kneel in the hallway for 17 seconds, in memory of the 17 students who died in Parkland, Florida.
Dr King carries a legacy even in death, said Markail Brooks, a senior. So I feel as if its an obligation to carry on what he wanted and what he was trying to fight for and thats why this day is very important.
At an elementary school in Alexandria, Virginia, children synchronized their watches and a captain in each room led students outside two minutes before the planned 10am protest start time.
Some parents have felt that were not old enough to know about it, said one student, Carter, 11, about school shootings. They think because were fifth-graders we dont know anything about whats happening.
Another student, Henry Gibbs, 10, said: Just the sensation that we are going to make a difference makes me feel proud.