Social media is filled with posts from enraged, scared or just exhausted parents wondering what can be done to stop school shootings like the one this week that claimed the lives of 17 people — mostly students — at a Florida high school.
One group has a suggestion.
Of school that is.
Women’s March Youth EMPOWER, a division of the Women’s March, has organized a national school walk-out event on Facebook and other social media platforms.
The goal? To show nationwide solidarity against gun violence and “Congressional inaction,” in the wake of school shootings like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in, Florida.
Parents and teachers — anyone really — is invited to participate, but organizers hope the movement will be buoyed and spread by high-school and college students.
It’s pretty simple really: students who want to participate are asked to get up from their classes at 10 a.m. on March 14, and gather in the streets for 17 minutes.
(That’s 10 a.m. in your local time zone by the way.)
Wear orange in a show of solidarity and support for victims of gun violence, said Kim Russell, Women’s March executive adviser.
“Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” Russell said. “The school shootings just keep happening and happening. There’s no escaping it. Congress need to hear from us.”
Russell and Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs, who heads up the Youth EMPOWER initiative, said they don’t have a set goal for number of participants, but they hope the nation’s high-school and college-students will take the lead in their own schools and communities.
Alie Brussell, 18, is a member of Women’s March Youth EMPOWER. Originally from New York City, she is taking a gap year, while working on an Indian Reservation in Arizona.
She is optimistic that youth will want to participate in great numbers — despite the divided political climate and the divisiveness of the gun issue.
“We’re not saying all guns are or should be taken away. Of course not. But our students need to be safe,” Brussell said. “We need to have some restrictions to make sure they are safe.”
“And maybe the issue is more accessible if it comes from kids.”
Already 3,900 people have said they are participating on the walk-out’s Facebook event page. Another 10,000 have said they are interested.
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