Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not represent the views of Babble.
Do you hear that? Our nation sounds quite a bit different today, doesn’t it? Hallways and classrooms of schools around the nation were quiet for a short time, as the streets grew louder.
That’s because today, thousands of students from states like California, Georgia, Michigan, and even Hawaii, walked out of their schools to make a statement. To demand change. To fight for their right to safely attend school without being shot. To say enough is ENOUGH.
If you’ve been following the hashtag #NationalSchoolWalkout on Twitter, you’ll see what a movement it all was. You’ll realize how much of a force these young people are. And just how much support they have from older generations, as well.
Kids from elementary school through middle school tweeted and Instagrammed updates from the frontlines, as they came together in solidarity. And even celebrities like Ellen Degeneres, Zendaya, Patton Oswalt, and Chris Evans all tweeted their support, with Evans writing, “The young people of this generation give me so much hope. Are u listening @GOP?”
Yet while some schools are embracing the movement on a large scale — such as one California school that spelled out “Enough” with its student body on the football field — others actually threatened those who participated with suspension.
Nevertheless, these kids persisted.
Today’s nationwide event was organized by EMPOWER, the youth branch of the Women’s March — remember that? When millions of women around the world marched in solidarity, demanding equal rights? The fact that EMPOWER was born out of such an impactful force speaks to just how big this is getting.
The walkout took place at 10 AM today, throughout all time zones. And what does it hope to achieve? A safer America. But, more importantly, CNN reports that participants are imploring Congress to “ban assault weapons, require universal background checks before gun sales, and pass a gun violence restraining order law that would allow courts to disarm people who display warning signs of violent behavior.”
Across the country, our nation’s young people are uniting. And do you know what happens when large groups of people band together to get something done? Something usually gets done. In fact, a recording from the walkout at Ballston Spa High School pointed out this crucial detail: “This is the first election where the millennial generation will outnumber baby boomers.”
So bash on those millennials all you want, but you should probably listen to what they have to say. Because there are a lot of them.
Of the endless images and tweets about #NationalSchoolWalkout, perhaps some of the most powerful images were of the massive crowd in front of the Capitol building. And it was at this gathering that one outspoken student boldly stated: “Their right to own an assault rifle does not outweigh our right to live. The adults have failed us. This is in our hands now, and if any elected official gets in our way, we will vote them out.”
Critics of these “kids” who are either of voting age or close to it — and many of whom can legally purchase a gun — say they are just children and can’t think for themselves. That the 17-minute long walkout today held in honor of 17 innocent kids who died during the Parkland school shooting — kids who were just like them — is just an excuse to skip class.
But these teenagers being accused of looking for a freebie or a break from class are forced to learn lockdown drill procedures on a regular basis. They are students who must learn where the nearest closet is that they can hide in — and how many can fit in there? They are taught how to barricade the door, huddle in a corner, or play dead. Some attend schools like Columbine who live in the memory of the carnage caused there, before some of them were even born. And most importantly, they include students like those from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and Sandy Hook Elementary, who know the sounds of gunfire ringing through their hallways.
If you truly think their motive is just to skip class, maybe they’re not the ones who are naive.
One student responded to this very sentiment today by tweeting, “I was just told by my math teacher that #NationalWalkoutDay will accomplish nothing and I won’t understand the complexity of this issue until I’m an adult & fully ‘mature.’ Yeah, right … ”
These “not fully mature adults” are the ones whose lives remain threatened as they sit in their classrooms. As they watch their “mature” legislators sit by and do nothing. Sorry, but if you ask me, it’s hard to make the argument for who is the adult in this scenario, who understands the full “complexity of this issue.”
And guess what? These kids aren’t done. This is only one of many marches, walkouts, and events that have caught national attention. In fact, The March for Our Lives is only a couple weeks away, on March 24.
So can you hear it now? There’s a rumble sweeping across America, and it’s not going to stop if our children keep dying.More On