#Enough! National School Walkout at CCA | Amy Cheng

#Enough! National School Walkout at CCA

by Amy Cheng

It has been a month since the nation-roiling school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and since the silent protest on February 21 hosted at CCA, students have been organizing another walkout—again in the Lower Quad for the 17 minutes after 10:00 AM.  Grace Laliotis, Christina Byun, and Shireen Rose, as well as members of SLATE Club put the event together to “[commemorate] the 17 lives that were lost in the Parkland shooting…to protest the lack of change happening in the United States about gun laws and to stand for change to end gun violence.”

In comparison to the first silent protest, Wednesday’s walkout was significantly more well-attended. Several hundred students streamed out of classrooms and down to the walkout; some were pushed to stand on the stairs and up on the grass. This time, dozens of students brought posters and signs to hold above the crowd.

It opened with a student speaker, Lauren George, who had moved to San Diego from Parkland a year before, talking about her personal connection to the experience and ending with a call to action. They followed up with an activity encouraging students to meet and learn a little about 17 other students at the walkout, because so many school shooters have a history of being bullied or alone. The last section planned was a 17-second silence for the 17 students who died in the Parkland shooting.

Students at the walkout generally cited their reason for participating as challenging school shootings to respect everyone who lost their lives or loved ones’ lives to one—and to appeal for better gun control and safer schools. Still, this varied from student to student. Some people participated in the walkout sheerly to honor the victims of the Parkland shooting, not to support increased gun regulations. Other students chose not to participate, not necessarily because they were against the stated goals of the walkout, but because they were unsure of what it would really accomplish, or because they were uncomfortable standing for any side of the political debates in the news.

The Women’s March Youth Empower organized the nationwide #Enough! National School Walkout on March 14 to push Congress to ban assault weapons, require full background checks before a gun is sold, and pass a gun violence restraining order, though it seems that at CCA, there was a greater focus on remembering the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Later this month, survivors from the Parkland shooting have arranged the March For Our Lives on the 24th, to take place at Washington, DC and at other sites globally.