National Walkout Day: Students Demand A Call To Action

National Walkout Day: Students Demand A Call To Action

#NeverAgain.
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A month after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that resulted in the deaths of 17 students, the U.S. now sees thousands of students staging a National School Walkout.

On March 14th, 2018, schools permitted high school and college students to leave their classes for 17 minutes, honoring the 17 victims of the shooting and attempting to pressure Congress to pass long-sought-after gun control legislation. Organizers emerged nationwide, but the push is largely attributed to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in partnership with EMPOWER, the youth department of the Women’s March. Under the title 'March For Our Lives,' students put forth a mission statement “to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues,” as well as to demand that the lives and safety of students be treated as a priority.

They look to send one message:

“Enough. We have seen enough senseless gun violence; we have lived in fear too long. We have buried too many heroes. We demand better.”

Starting at 10 a.m., Eastern time, demonstrations extended beyond school property, leading to marches and, in Washington, large gatherings around the White House. In New York, some public officials took to protest; Governor Andrew Cuomo, Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers, and Michael Mulgrew of the United Federation of Teachers engaged with a student “lie-in.”

Granted, the movement did not garner support from every school administration, some even threatening disciplinary action and facing defiance from student populations. As the numbers indicate, however, many districts allowed students the personal choice to participate, backing them with permission slips and allotted time frames for protest.

The walkout marks one of many continuing demonstrations. The official 'March For Our Lives' is scheduled to take place on the 24th of this month, and is meant to occupy the nation’s capital as well as the “town squares, city centers, rural roads, and village parks” that are available nationwide. The second walkout is set to occur on April 10th, the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. The protests have clear implications; Florida Governor Rick Scott rebuked the National Rifle Association last week in signing into law a measure that would raise the minimum age from 18 to 21 to purchase a firearm in the state.

The walkout is a clear representation of the youth that is actively working for their cause, and that will not rest until it is seen through. Per their site, “Our voices need to echo into the future if our friends, our siblings, and our bodies are to be safe. Then it will be enough.” We must continue to demand change.
Cover Image Credit: Issac Tafolla / Twitter

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I'm The College Girl Who Likes Trump And Hates Feminism, And Living On A Liberal Campus Is Terrifying

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

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I will get right to the point: being a conservative on a liberal college campus in 2019 downright terrifying.

At my university, I'm sure about 90% of the population, both students and faculty, are liberals. They are very outspoken, never afraid to express their views, opinions, and feelings in several ways. There are pride events for the LGBT community, a huge celebration for MLK day, and tons of events for feminists.

Then there's the minority: the conservatives. The realists. The "racists," "bigots," and "the heartless." I am everything the liberals absolutely despise.

I like Donald Trump because he puts America first and is actually getting things done. He wants to make our country a better place.

I want a wall to keep illegals out because I want my loved ones and me to be safe from any possible danger. As for those who are genuinely coming here for a better life, JUST FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK INSTEAD OF SNEAKING AROUND.

I'm pro-life; killing an infant at nine months is inhumane to me (and yet liberals say it's inhumane to keep illegals out…but let's not get into that right now).

I hate feminism. Why? Because modern feminism isn't even feminism. Slandering the male species and wanting to take down the patriarchy is just ridiculous.

I hate the media. I don't trust anyone in it. I think they are all biased, pathological liars. They purposely make our president look like the devil himself, leaving out anything good he does.

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

I mostly keep my opinions to myself out of fear. When I end up getting one of my "twisted" and "uneducated" thoughts slip out, I cringe, waiting for the slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone at my university is hostile to those who think differently than they do.

I've shared my opinions with some liberal students and professors before, and there was no bloodshed. Sure, we may not see eye to eye, but that's okay. That just means we can understand each other a little better.

Even though the handful of students and faculty I've talked to were able to swallow my opinions, I'm still overwhelmed by the thousands of other people on campus who may not be as kind and attentive. But you can't please everybody. That's just life.

Your school is supposed to be a safe environment where you can be yourself. Just because I think differently than the vast majority of my peers doesn't mean I deserve to be a target for ridicule. No one conservative does. Scratch that, NO ONE DOES.

I don't think I'll ever feel safe.

Not just on campus, but anywhere. This world is a cruel place. All I can do is stand firm in my beliefs and try to tolerate and listen to the clashing opinions of others. What else can I do?

All I can say is... listen. Be nice. Be respectful of other's opinions, even if you strongly disagree. Besides, we all do have one thing in common: the desire for a better country.

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Dear Young Voices Of America, Stand Up, Speak Up, And Do Something

Our time is now.

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Dear young voices of America, I think we can both agree that we are sick of being told we are America's future while simultaneously being told our opinions don't matter. Now I personally do not listen to the people that tell me I'm better seen than heard; however, I know there are people that are a little timider when it comes to raising their voices. I am here to encourage you to be loud and speak up on topics that matter to you. There is no better time than the present to make your voice heard. Whether you are advocating for change in your school or the government, your opinion matters and is relevant.

We are the future of our country. How are we supposed to evoke change and reform if we can't have our voices heard? I call bullshit and I think it's time to take action. Even if you're the first or only person to advocate for your cause, be that person. Don't be afraid of anyone that tries to stand in your way. The only person that can stop you from speaking up for yourself and your cause is you. No matter how many nos you have to hear to get a yes or how many doors you have to knock on to get someone to open up, never give up. Never give up on your cause, never give up on yourself or the people you're representing, just don't do it. There is someone out there that supports you. Maybe they're just too shy to raise their voice too. Be encouraging and be supportive and get people to take a stand with you.

It is never too early or too late to start thinking about your future or to take action. But don't hesitate to say something. The sooner you start speaking up, the sooner you have people joining you and helping you, and the sooner you start to see and experience change. So get up, make that sign, write that letter, make that phone call, take part in that march, give that speech. Do whatever you feel fit to get your point across. Shout it from the rooftops, write it on your profile, send it in a letter, ignore everyone that tries to tell you to give up. Maybe they don't understand now, maybe they don't want to listen, maybe they're afraid to listen, but the more you talk about it and help them understand what exactly you are trying to get across, they will join you.

Even when it feels like you have nobody on your side but yourself, I am on your side. I will cheer you on, I will march with you hand in hand, I will write letters and make phone calls and help you find your voice. My life changed when I found my voice and yours will too.

So dear young voices of America, the time is now. Your time is now. Don't be afraid of the obstacles that you may have to face. Someone is out there waiting for you, waiting to grab your hand and march on with you. As Tarana Burke once said "Get up. Stand up. Speak up. Do something."

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