Thousands of students across the United States stepped out of their classrooms yesterday to demand action on gun control. Young Americans from Georgia and Ohio to New England and Virginia walked their school grounds chanting slogans against the National Rifle Association (NRA) in what ended up being one of the largest student protests since the Vietnam War.
Many carried signs with powerful messages such as “Am I Next?”, “Our Blood/Your Hands”, “Protect kids not guns,” and “Never Again”. Each protest lasted at least seventeen minutes, to commemorate the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, which left seventeen students and staff members dead. In Washington D.C., over 2000 student protestors gathered outside the White House and sat in silence for seventeen minutes.
“Enough is enough”, said Iris Foss-Ober, a senior at Washburn High School in Minneapolis. “People are done with being shot”. A senior at Douglas S. Freeman High School in Virginia, Maxwell Nardi, told AP “We’re sick of it”. He added that: “We’re going to keep fighting, and we’re not going to stop until Congress finally makes resolute changes.”
The NRA responded to the protests on Twitter, posting a photo of a black rifle with an American flag logo and the caption: “I’ll control my own guns, thank you.”
The school walk-out precedes the March for Our Lives rally, which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to Washington D.C. on March 24th.