Students all over the country walked out of their classrooms for 17 minutes this morning at 10 a.m. to remember the 17 children and educators gunned down in Parkland, Fla., exactly a month ago on Valentine’s Day.
Kids from almost 3,000 schools observed the so-called National Walkout Day and demanded stricter gun-control laws, including an assault-rifle ban and increased age restrictions for gun buyers.
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where the shooting took place, gathered on the football field and chanted “MSD!” and “We want change!”
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 14, 2018
Students around the country wore shirts that read “Am I next?” and carried signs reading “Prayers and condolences are not enough” and “Protect people, not guns.” Some schools also read the names of the Parkland victims and observed moments of silence.
Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi joined other Democrats, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Representative John Lewis (D., Ga.), to appear with students rallying in front of the Capitol. A crowd of students also gathered in front of the White House.
“The NRA has made me public enemy number one and I’m proud of it,” Schumer said to cheers from the crowd.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) March 14, 2018
“This is not an excuse to skip school,” one high-school student, identified only as “Michael,” told his fellow students as he spoke in front of the Capitol, likening the movement to the civil-rights movement. “We, too, will remain persistent until there is real change.”
Both Democratic senators from Connecticut, Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, attended the White House protest. Newtown, Conn., was the scene of one of the deadliest school shootings in the country’s history in 2012.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo joined students in New York City by lying down in a suit on a Manhattan street.
Students chanted “Hey hey, NRA, how many kids did you kill today?” outside Trump International Hotel in Manhattan, repurposing the famous chant of Vietnam War protestors.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Tom Perez also voiced his support for the students, calling the protests “profoundly inspiring.”
“The cruel and cowardly indifference of the gun lobby and their close allies in Congress is no match for the courage of these students and all those fighting to end gun violence,” Perez said in a statement.
Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg has called for monthly school walkouts until Congress acts.
“The main way that I can see the momentum really continuing, is if we had a walkout every 14th, until legislative action is taken in the United States Congress by these politicians that haven’t taken action for so long,” Hogg told NBC on Wednesday.