We gave Emerson students the following prompt on Facebook and Twitter to ask them for their opinions on the walkout on March 14 in 100-200 words:
“This Wednesday a national walkout to protest gun violence will occur at 10 a.m. Are you planning on participating? Why or why not?”
These responses have been edited for clarity and style, but not for content.
On March 14 at 10:00 a.m., I walked out of class in solidarity with the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and thousands of students across the nation. I walk out in memory of those who went to school in order to learn and grow, but had their lives tragically cut short. I walk out to demand action by our politicians to ban assault rifles and do their job—keep us safe and protected. I walk out to send a message to the National Rifle Association, that they have absolutely no place in our government.
As these protests continue, I ask you to think of these questions. Why do you have to be 21 in order to buy a drink, but you can be 18 to buy a weapon? Why do you need a learner’s permit in order to drive, but you don’t need one before taking ownership of a gun? Why do we allow our politicians to be swayed by organizations that support the purchases of killing machines? Why are there more gun shops in America than Starbucks in the world?
We are 73 days into 2018 and there are an estimated 2,813 people who have been shot and killed. As a society and country, we cannot let this continue. I am walking out for those people, with hopes that mass shootings like the ones in Newtown, Las Vegas, Orlando, Columbine, and Parkland will never happen again.
I commend every single student who walked out of class today to protest gun violence and advocate for gun reform. However, I have a question: Where have you been all this time? When black kids are shot by cops, you all retweet some hashtags from your bedrooms. When a black child is caught in the crossfire walking to school, you shake your heads and continue scrolling through your Twitter feeds.
To me, it seems that Emerson students are selective when it comes to their protests. Students choose to support safe causes, ones that are timely and popular. I’m not saying that students shouldn’t support the anti-gun movement or shouldn’t participate in protests. I am simply asking for them to care about the kids in Baltimore, Chicago, and everywhere else who didn’t get the chance to grow up either. Next time you see a black kid’s name trending as a hashtag, give them as much attention and outcry as the Parkland students.