By Kristin McKee
In the wake of the shooting that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, schools around the country organized a walkout to call for stricter gun laws.
On Wednesday, March 14, exactly one month after the shooting, members of the RU community walked out of their schools for 17 minutes to honor the 17 lives that were lost in Parkland. Roosevelt University honored their social justice objective and supported any individual wanting to participate in the protest.
Hundreds of protesters exited through the entrance of the Auditorium Building and gathered across the street at Grant Park.
The park roared with chants: “The NRA has got to go,” “Protect children, not guns” and “Not one more.”
Protesters held up signs that read “#Enough” and others that called for the NRA to change its policies. Students, teachers and staff stood together as they demanded a safer educational environment not only for Roosevelt, but also every school across the nation.
“We lost 17 lives, obviously, but it’s beyond this,” international relations major Emily Spangler said.
“It’s not the first school shooting thats occurred. Having students and teachers, especially at a social justice school, make a stand and have a say against not just gun violence but also the NRA and what they stand for… well, that’s why we’re here,” Spangler said.
Musical theatre major Bethany Hoffman said she is optimistic for a change in gun laws. Hoffman said she is from Florida where the Parkland shooting was close to her school. “If we keep voicing our opinion and keep protesting…we’re going to get progressively better.”
In some schools around the nation, however, administration has said there will be consequences for students who get involved in the protest.
“My high school theatre teacher is failing students for the day if they walk out,” musical theatre major Sarah VanBindsbergen said. “So, it’s become that much more important to me to participate in this and show my support for something that could happen to anyone.”