OUR MISSION FOR THE BAY AREA WALKOUT
On March 14th, 2018, one million students participated in a nationwide movement to combat gun violence. The effect was dizzyingly powerful. Students of all genders, ethnicities, grades, and political ideologies stood together as one in silent, radiating unity. Just a month earlier on Valentine’s Day, 17 students and staff members lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The movement that emerged—a coalition of Floridian teenagers generating a call to end gun violence in our nation—reverberated thousands of miles and shook the foundation of our own campuses in the Bay Area. Later that month, in the largest student-organized protest since the Vietnam War, the March For Our Lives made history.
We called for change and change happened. Locally and nationally, revisions were made to standing weaponry laws to curb the effects of gun violence. Bump stocks were banned, age limits were raised, and a universal background check bill was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. In California, former Governor Jerry Brown signed into effect some of the strictest gun laws in the country and newly elected Governor Gavin Newsom has continued on that trajectory. Across the country, constituents voted NRA-funded politicians out of office in waves during the 2018 midterm election, culminating in the largest midterm election turnout in over a century. Our voices were heard by people around the world, and the magnitude of our clamor enacted change.
But we aren’t done yet. While great strides have been made to combat this epidemic, there’s still so much more that needs to be done. Just in 2019, 48 mass shootings have ripped apart families and communities, and 2,272 people as of March 1st have lost their lives to gun violence (gunviolencearchive.org). 342 people are shot in murders, suicides and suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, and police interventions every day (bradycampaign.org). Our government, both locally and nationally, has made an effort to combat this. But it isn’t enough, which is why we are hosting our second annual walkout on March 14, 2019.
What the brave students in Parkland started has impacted the entire country. It is our job to take their work and strengthen it in our own community. Students can make a difference and student voices matter now more than ever before—we’ve seen what is possible when we stand together and demand action. And we know that gun violence has become a partisan issue. But we don’t believe that decreasing the amount of death in this country should be a stance that divides. We are asking all students, regardless of gender, ethnicity, grade, or political ideology to walk out with us, stand with us, and unite with us so that no child has to ever go to school in fear. This walkout is calling for governmental action, but you, as an individual, can decide what that action should be. If you advocate for mental health services, walk out with us. If you advocate for gun reform, walk out with us. If you don’t know what should happen, but you’re against kids being killed in the very place they’re supposed to grow, walk out with us. Your voice matters. Together, we can show our government that fear truly has no place in our schools.