This year for Valentine’s Day, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, didn’t get to party with friends or go out on dates. Instead, the students were faced with a nightmare when a gunman armed with an AR-15 attacked their school. The attack left 17 dead and 17 more injured. Now, on the one month anniversary of the shooting, March For Our Lives, a group started by survivors of the shooting, is encouraging students across the nation to organize school walkouts in protest of gun violence.
Following their lead, a small group of Northwestern students, many from South Florida, felt a need to respond to the shooting and planned a bipartisan protest on campus. When asked why she became involved with planning the event, Medill senior Stephanie Bernstein explained, “I’m proud of Northwestern and I was not going to let us be quiet.”
On Wednesday, March 14, Northwestern students will gather in two locations: the Rock and Technological Institute. From there, students will begin marching towards Deering Library, where there will be a moment of silence for the lives lost in the shooting. This moment will be followed by a series of guest speakers, including Evanston Mayor Stephen H. Hagerty and Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. Students planning on marching are asked to arrive no later than 9:55 a.m., as the march will begin promptly at 10 a.m.
At 6 p.m. that evening, there will also be a candlelight vigil held at the Rock to honor all the lives lost to gun violence. At this time, there will also be an opportunity for students to sign a banner before it is hand delivered to Marjory Stoneman Douglas. All students are invited to participate in both events. More information can be found on the Facebook event page.
Through organization and hard work, the event has come together very quickly. According to Bernstein, “The administration is really standing behind us, and I think that just shows that this isn’t a matter of… a political opinion or taking sides, this is just something so vital that needs to be done.” She hopes that students will stay passionate about the cause even after Wednesday’s protest is over. Students can continue to push for change by calling their representatives, writing letters to Congress, talking about these issues with friends, and registering to vote.
Other protests will also take place on Saturday, March 24. Students staying in the Chicago area can look into March For Our Lives Chicago in Grant Park. Those who will already be off-campus by that time can use this search tool from March For Our Lives to look for a nearby protests about gun control. With over 580 protests scheduled worldwide, there are a lot of options for students to make their voices heard.
In the face of a tragedy like the Parkland shooting, it can be easy to lose hope and feel resigned to future disasters. But through events like this protest, our community can make the choice to stay strong and fight these issues. This is an opportunity to bring about positive policy changes to improve the lives of students nationwide, so that never again will any student feel unsafe in school.