On Wednesday, March 14th, one month after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, students all over the country participated in a walkout. Students have had #Enough of gun violence in schools, and chose to make their voices heard for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 students and faculty members who were killed in Parkland. Augustana College was one of the many schools that participated in this event. Students at Augustana left classes at 10:00AM for a brief assembly to honor the victims and promote change.
The walkout at Augustana started with 17 chimes of the bells to remember the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting. Pastor Priggie then led a prayer to start the ceremony. One of the most important things he said was that in these situations, many people are quick to say that their thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. However, thoughts and prayers are sometimes just a way to avoid taking action. By keeping the Parkland shooting in the news for over a month, students are doing more than giving their thoughts and prayers. They refuse to be silenced, and refuse to let the conversation about gun control end.
After the walkout ended, students were encouraged to stop by engagement tables to register to vote, learn how to contact their representatives, and further honor the victims of school shootings. For students who are registered to vote in Rock Island County, early voting was available in the Brew after the walkout. Although the walkout was an important form of protest, what is even more important is remaining engaged in the political process. The conversation about protecting students and school staff cannot end, and as long as the people who are organizing protests and speaking out continue to do so, it won’t. Now, more than ever, it is so important to vote and so important to contact your representatives.