A chorus of honks from drivers began almost immediately as Mercy students starting lining up along 19th Avenue for National School Walkout Day on Wednesday, March 14, where they stood in silence for 17 minutes to honor and remember the 17 victims of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The powerful demonstration - which included more than 3,000 schools across the country - marks a movement among young people who are saying, "Enough is Enough" and speaking out about the senseless gun violence that's ravaging and terrifying America's schools.
Senior Morgan Hildula, Student Body President, believes that the dozens of drivers who honked as they drove by “helped to show Mercy students that our community supports this movement.”
“The enthusiasm shown by passersby confirms that our show of solidarity today has been seen and others also want change,” she said. “I’m very proud of my fellow students for taking action during today’s walkout.”
As a Mercy school focused on the Critical Concern of non-violence, students wanted to become part of the national dialogue students are having about safety at their school. The walkout was led by the Campus Leadership Team - which includes more than 60 students.
“Mercy is one of our city’s major trailblazers in terms of social advocacy, and today has been no different. We must continue to step up, speak out, and commit to actions that will help create gun reform,” she said. “I believe our generation will be the ones to actually affect change in our nation’s policies regarding firearms, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish.”
Mercy's Campus Leadership Team drafted the statement below regarding gun violence in America’s schools prior to the walkout.
“There is an unprecedented epidemic currently ravaging this country. Despite an ongoing chorus of urgent cries spanning the nation, our schools and greater communities continue to be threatened by senseless and preventable gun violence. Our lawmakers — many influenced by groups more concerned with economic gain than the safety of Americans — have fallen short of their duties.”
Sophomore Maysem Awadalla said the message from students is clear: “We want change and it’s important that we stand up for change.”
“We want to implement gun laws and we want to be heard,” she said. “I felt like it was a great experience and a lot of people were driving past us honking and giving thumbs up and I thought that’s an amazing thing that we were heard.”
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