In a historic day of action, more than a million students from over 3,000 schools walked out of classes to protest gun violence on Wednesday. Walkouts occurred in all 50 states as well as some overseas. In Littleton, Colorado, hundreds walked out Columbine High School—site of a 1999 massacre that left 15 people dead. In Madison, Wisconsin, thousands of students walked out and marched on the state Capitol building, where they flooded the rotunda and chanted “We want Walker!” outside the office of Republican Governor Scott Walker, who has resisted calls for gun control. In Washington, D.C., protesters placed 14,000 shoes on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol—one pair for each of the estimated 7,000 children who’ve died of gunshot wounds since the Sandy Hook school massacre of 2012. Across the Mall, hundreds of D.C.-area students protested outside the White House, turning their backs on the building and sitting silently for 17 minutes—one minute for each person killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida a month ago. This is 16-year-old Reem Arajai and 17-year-old Simone Hicks speaking at the protest.
Reem Arajai: “I hope that the president will step up, stop accepting money from the NRA, because if all of the deaths that have occurred aren’t enough to convince him, then I guess it just has to be us protesting right now.”
Simone Hicks: “If you can protect guns this much and don’t have the same regard for the people who are going to create your country in the future, then we’re in trouble. The kids are the future. If you’re not protecting the kids, then what’s left?”