Students across the United States walked out of their classrooms Wednesday to take part in a nationwide protest demanding gun control legislation amid relentless shootings that have already claimed more than 10,000 lives in a little over three months this year.
Wednesday’s National School Walkout followed a smaller demonstration Monday in Nashville, Tennessee, where six people including three 9-year-old children were shot dead last week at the Covenant School.
“We’ve grown up in the midst of America’s gun violence crisis. In fact, we’ve been called the ‘school shooting generation,'” protest organizer Students Demand Action explained. “Now we’re rising up and organizing in our high schools, colleges, and communities across the country to demand action to end gun violence.”
Among those participating in Wednesday’s walkout were a group of students from Uvalde High School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and three adults including the shooter were killed during a May 2022 massacre at Robb Elementary School.
The teens chanted slogans including “our blood, your hands” as they walked off campus and marched downtown.
“If people do not start walking out, do not try to start making change, nothing will, and we want change,” one student told the San Antonio Express-News. “We’re tired of being scared.”
Javier Casares, whose 9-year-old daughter Jackie was murdered at Robb Elementary School, told the Express-News he thinks Wednesday’s walkout was “something awesome.”
“I think we should be seeing this here all over the world,” he said, “and I wish more students would have the courage to do so.”
In New York City, one student protester said that “it’s unfair for little kids to be paranoid all the time coming to school when school’s supposed to be… a safe space for you to learn.”
Another New York demonstrator said that “it’s not fair how people are banning some books and not guns.”
In Memphis, Tennessee, students shouted “no more silence, no more gun violence” as they rallied outside White Station High School.
“We have to stand up. We have to change the legislation. We have to have safety,” said White Station 12th grader Presley Spiller, an organizer of the rally. “We cannot have academics if we are not safe.”
In Boulder, Colorado — where a gunman armed with an AR-15 rifle massacred 10 people in a supermarket in 2021 — students rallied outside of the county courthouse and chanted, “Hey, hey, NRA, how many kids did you kill today?”
“We don’t want to be killed. We don’t want to be a face in the newspaper,” Boulder High School sophomore Alex Berk told TheDenver Post.
Eliana Monahan, another Boulder sophomore, told the paper that “we shouldn’t be afraid to go to school and get killed.”
“We had a scare a few months ago where we thought there was going to be a school shooting,” Monahan added, “and that shouldn’t be a fear that we have, that our friends and teachers are gonna get shot.”