At 10:00 am on Wednesday, March 14, hundreds of Georgetown students walked out of their classes and joined a large crowd outside of Healy Hall in order to stand in solidarity with students at schools all across the country who are advocating for action on guns and gun control. This protest took place in response to the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which resulted in the slaughter of 17 students, faculty, and staff in a matter of three-minutes. The shooting took place exactly one month ago on February 14 and was the 14th school shooting of 2018, according to CNN.
The Georgetown walkout, which was dedicated by event organizers to all victims of gun violence, featured heartfelt speeches by student leaders. One such speaker was a Georgetown student whose family member died protecting students at the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. The event was 17 minutes long, one minute for each victim of the shooting in Parkland. There was a three-minute-long moment of silence representing the time it took for the murders to occur, followed by a statement by President John DeGioia calling for everyone to come together as a community. The walkout concluded with a reading of the names of each Parkland victim as well as all the young people killed by guns in Washington, DC in the past few months.
Yesterday’s walkout was a part of a larger national movement led by the survivors of the Parkland shooting, who are demanding that lawmakers step up or be voted out of office. The movement, called Never Again, gained its first victory with the signing of a bill in Florida which would tighten gun control by banning bump fire stocks, raising the minimum age required to buy a gun from 18 to 21, and appropriating funds for mental health assistance in schools. More controversially, the bill would introduce a program that would arm teachers, an idea for which President Trump has expressed support. Following the bill’s signing, the National Rifle Association (NRA) immediately filed a lawsuit citing the 2nd and 14th amendments of the Constitution. Congress, however, has failed to act on gun violence or seriously consider any real form of gun control, even following America’s deadliest mass shooting in recent times in Las Vegas back in October.
Students across the country participated in the walkout, including hundreds of students who congregated in front of the White House and then marched to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress. The fight for action on gun control continues with the March for Our Lives, which will take place on Saturday, March 24th on Pennsylvania Avenue. Additionally, the National Day of Action Against Gun Violence in Schools will take place on April 20th, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.
Georgetown student organizers, as well as activists in the broader movement, urged students to vote anti-gun control legislators out of office. To register to vote, text P2P to 788-683.