School walkout inspires political activism

School walkout inspires political activism

Tori Lubin ’18

At 10:00 a.m on March 14, my biology teacher asked, “Who’s participating in the walkout?” 25 students raised themselves from 25 desks. Not a single desk was occupied after 10:00 a.m.

The Staples student body was drawn to the fieldhouse like a magnet. Girls, boys, freshman, seniors, Democrats, Republicans and typically a-political students alike flowed in a steady stream to participate in the emotionally charged battle regarding the one topic that is fresh on everybody’s mind: student death by gun violence.

“Walkout” is not the right word to describe this event, in the sense that students did not walk out of the school or even go outside. Really, what Staples students did was walk towards something. They walked towards their fellow classmates. Walked in sorrow of lives lost. Walked for change.

Listening to the names of the 17 victims who lost their lives in Parkland Florida cut open fresh wounds for me. Seeing the smiling faces of students my age denied their right to existence as a result of weapons of war was difficult to stomach. This slideshow of the Parkland victims’ names and faces was the most powerful part of the assembly, reminding us that regardless of political affiliation, we can all collectively mourn.

When my fellow classmates approached the podium, the only way I can describe how I felt was proud. My peers’ speeches were eloquent and smart. They acknowledged the horrific events that occurred while also powerfully advocating for change. These students propounded a right to education and the right to feel safe at school. They had extensive knowledge of the role of interest groups such as the National Rifle Association and focused on harnessing our power as a student community to fight for change.

Yesterday, I was honored to be a member of the Staples community. I stood by hundreds of other students who acted upon the issues that mattered to them instead of leaving that responsibility to adults. I feel lucky to live in a community where students care about national issues and are willing to fight for them.

I am also proud today to be a member of my generation. Although millennials and members of Generation Z often get a bad rap for being social-media obsessed, yesterday that social media frenzy was used to bring thousands of students across the nation together and create something really powerful. It is no small feat that nationally and at Staples, the school walkout was organized and created by students.

Whether its gun control, environmental protection, or any other issue, it is clear that the so-called social media crazed teenagers have the power to change the world.