Students Across The Country Had Powerful Messages Of Solidarity For The Parkland Shooting Survivors
"We love you and we support you so much."
One month after a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead, students across the country walked out of classes on Wednesday to show solidarity with the survivors and protest gun violence.
Students from across the country demanded gun control reform. But they also came out to tell the Parkland survivors that they are not alone. Here are their messages for the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
"This movement is created by you. It’s been led by you. And we stand with you every step of the way. Even if we weren’t the ones affected, we feel your pain. We feel your tragedy."
Aditi Kiragi, a sophomore, walked out of class at East High School in Wichita, Kansas, with her friends on Wednesday morning despite her school threatening disciplinary action against students who participated.
"I just want to say that to all the surviving Parkland students that have become advocates, thank you. This movement is created by you. It’s been led by you. And we stand with you every step of the way," she said. "Even if we weren’t the ones affected, we feel your pain. We feel your tragedy. And we won’t stop until the possibility is not there again."
For their 17-minute walkout, the students could receive an unexcused absence on their records, she said.
"We all stand together. And we are not going to sit down," said Amaan Syed, also a sophomore at the school.
"We love you and we support you so much. The work that you are doing is absolutely amazing and it’s necessary."
Students of Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn joined others at Brooklyn Borough Hall after walking out of school.
Violet Kopp, a high schooler from Saint Ann's, said she would like to tell the Parkland students: "We love you and we support you so much. The work that you are doing is absolutely amazing and it’s necessary. You have created a movement, and you have done this, and keep going."
"It’s really inspiring to see other kids rebound after something so traumatic happened to them. Just coming back and doing something so incredible and changing the world. It’s inspiring to all of us," said her classmate Griffin Frey.
"It is so empowering seeing them rising up and speaking out and writing music."
In Los Angeles, students at Hamilton High School said they were walking out despite their school's administration being against the demonstration.
One of the protest's organizers, Miriam Schweiger, said she was inspired by the Parkland students' advocacy and the music they wrote in the wake of the trauma they've been through.
"I can’t imagine ever being in their place. It is so empowering seeing them rising up and speaking out and writing music," she said. "I think it is really important to bring creative things out of tragedy and I think that has the most power to effect change of anything. It’s really, really amazing to me what they’re doing, and I think to everyone."
"Stay strong. If we stick together, as students, we can make change happen."
Lily, a sophomore at Boise High School in Idaho, was among around 1,000 students who walked out of school and to the state capitol to protest on Wednesday.
Her message to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students: "Stay strong. If we stick together, as students, we can make change happen."
"We support the Parkland students turning their pain into advocacy."
"We support the Parkland students turning their pain into advocacy," said another student, Natalie, a junior at Boise High.
"The Parkland students' pain is our pain, too."
Students from South Middle School had this message for the students in Florida:
“The Parkland students’ pain is our pain, too. Our teachers wanted us to stay in class and write letters to Congress, but we did that with the last three shootings. We wanted to do something that matters.”
“#NeverAgain. We stand with you. We will never let this happen to anyone else again.”
"Stay strong. We are with you."
For students at Las Vegas's Advanced Technologies Academy high school, walking out of school to protest gun violence was inextricably tied to the shooting on the Las Vegas strip last October, where a gunman shot and killed 58 people.
“#NeverAgain. We stand with you. We will never let this happen to anyone else again," said Ian Green, 17, a senior at the school and organizer of Wednesday's walkout.
Tyler Hamilton, a senior at the school and survivor of last year's attack, nearly lost his best friend when she was shot in the back during the Las Vegas shooting.
"The best thing I can tell you is: You have your ups, you have your downs. You've just got to stay strong. I get up every morning and not every day is perfect," said Hamilton.
"For me, I put on my boots and try to greet that day with a clear head and a clear mind," he said. "You’ve got to just— I don’t want to say put it away, but you can’t let it dictate your life. Make it the driving force, not something that drags you down."
Steven Oloya, a junior at the school, said he walked out because he didn't want to be afraid of the possibility of a mass shooting at his school anymore.
To the students in Parkland, he said, "Stay strong. We are with you."
"We see you, we recognize you, and we know that ultimately it's the youth and the kids that are going to get stuff done."
In San Francisco, students of Ruth Asawa School of the Arts were among those who walked out of classes and through downtown San Francisco in protest.
"We see you, we recognize you, and we know that ultimately it's the youth and the kids that are going to get stuff done," Malkia Williams, a junior at Ruth Asawa. "Time and time again Congress and the government has not been listening and doing anything about gun safety. It's been happening for years. Greater steps should have been taken after Columbine."
"I feel like I would want to provide validation that it’s not okay," said Juno Paganini, a senior at the school, when asked what she would want to say to the Parkland students. "I would probably just emphasize that it’s not okay. There has to be something done and it will be done. There’s no other option at this point."
"I am in admiration of you, and I hope you never stop fighting. We will win this together, and we will never give up."
In Manhattan, students of the Beacon School walked out of class and held a rally, reading the names of each of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting.
"I don’t know where to begin. Your bravery, passion, and motivations have not only made history but inspired a movement and the generation it belongs to," Arielle Geismar, a junior at the school, said. "To see walkouts at this level across the nation is to see history in the making, and it is all because of your relentless efforts. Today, March 14, was to honor those that you lost. I hope our efforts have been meaningful to you as we stand with you and for you. I am in admiration of you, and I hope you never stop fighting. We will win this together, and we will never give up."
One of the Parkland survivors leading the calls for gun control reform, Cameron Kasky, tweeted his thanks to student-leaders at his school and other schools around the world.
Griffin Frey’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this post.