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On Wednesday, March 14th, exactly one month after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students all across the nation walked out of their classes at 10:00 AM for 17 minutes in memory of the 17 students killed in Parkland. The walkout not only acted as a memorial for those students, but also as a call for stricter gun control policies and for real action to be taken to stop shootings like this from happening in the future. 

Students of all ages from middle schoolers to college students as well as teachers and professors participated in the walkout, including the students and professors of Georgia College & State University!

Photo via Haley Lewis

At 10:00 AM, GC students and professors came to the Free Speech Zone on front campus and stood silently for 17 minutes to show their support for the #NeverAgain movement. Some students held signs with sayings like “Enough is enough!” and “No more silence! End gun violence!”

The walkout was organized by student Justin Hockey who is also involved in planning the March For Our Lives event in Atlanta on March 24th. 

“I have been passionate about this issue for some time now, and when I heard Women’s March [the organization helping coordinate the marches] was planning nationally, I wanted to be a part of it.” Hockey said about why he decided to organize the event, “I was a little hesitant at first because I had never planned anything like this before, but once I got involved in planning the March For Our Lives in Atlanta I decided to plan a walkout at GCSU. I also wanted to plan one here specifically because of the lack of representation from universities in rural areas. It is important that all schools have a voice in this movement because being any sort of student in the US puts us at risk, and that’s not okay. I’d also like to thank everyone who showed up I was very nervous it would be really small, and I’m very pleased with the turnout.”

Photo via Haley Lewis

You can find a video of the students gathered on campus here! 

The movement that inspired these walkouts was created by the students of Douglas High School who were heartbroken and tired of the seemingly endless cycle of gun violence, outrage, and then seeing people fall back into complacency. So, they did what they could and took a stand that’s been catching on across the nation. 

I walked out of class on Wednesday, because I shouldn’t have to worry about my 16-year-old sister going to school. She, like all students, should be free to learn without fear of someone who got their hands on a weapon coming in and opening fire. While not everyone had the ability to walkout due to midterms or other circumstances, I did, so I walked out for them too.

Sometimes asking for change can feel like you’re yelling for help into a crowd of people wearing earplugs. Although the students in middle and high school are too young to vote, those of us in college aren’t. We have the ability to create change now. We hear you yelling for help, and we want change too.

What’s happening now clearly isn’t working, so let’s do what we can whether that means continuing to speak out, walking out, voting, or even just participating in the “Walking Up” movement (walk up to someone, be a friend, show kindness to someone who may need it, etc.) 

The bottom line is… #ENOUGH

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” -Mister Rogers
Elizabeth is a Senior Creative Writing major at GCSU. She loves all things Disney and is always prepared to pet any puppy that walks her way. When she isn’t writing, you can probably find her watching old movies, belting showtunes, or listening to her latest podcast obsession. Follow Elizabeth on Instagram and Twitter @lizzy4liz
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