If all went as planned, thousands of students in schools across the country — including right here at home with Bronx Science and the High School of American Studies — walked out of class for 17 minutes Wednesday honoring the memory of the 17 students killed in the Valentine’s Day mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
While the walkout is a show of solidarity with their fallen peers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, these students are fighting for a much bigger cause: gun control reform, especially when it comes to military-grade assault weapons, like the one used in Parkland.
Enough can’t be said about what all these students are trying to accomplish. And it’s because of them that this particular shooting — the 10th school massacre killing at least five people since the expiration of the most recent assault weapons ban in September 2004 — remains on the front page of the nation’s newspapers.
Those opposed to gun control relish the fast news cycle, where a shooting like the one in Parkland burns bright, but then quickly disappears before any real change can happen.
Yet, it’s been a month since Parkland, and no one is forgetting, because these brave students won’t let you.
These students, these are your leaders of tomorrow. Do they make you proud? They should, because they’re not waiting for tomorrow — they’re leading today.
Even if these students accomplish nothing more than lip service from lawmakers resistant to gun control change, it’s chipping away at this mentality that anyone and everyone should possess whatever weapon they like. And when something unthinkable like Parkland happens, we can finally blame not just the shooter, but also the weapons he carried capable of killing a large number of people in less than a minute.
We can’t just listen to these students. We must join them. Solidarity is what makes us strong, and it’s the only way we’ll be able to push through the noise coming from the National Rifle Association and truly make meaningful change — not just in our schools, but throughout the entire country.
But for now, thank you to all these young people fighting to get your voices heard. You’re truly making a difference.