Students on March 15 came together to walk out of school in protest of gun violence for National Walkout Day and in remembrance of the school shootings in the past, but particularly in memory of the victims of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14. Instructions spread along social media that students were supposed to walkout for seventeen minutes, each minute representing a victim of the massacre, accord- ing to The Associated Press.
Students in North Carolina participated in National Walkout Day. Of the many recorded instances, some went viral. For example, Justin Blackman, a sixteen-year-old student at the Wilson Preparatory Academy in Wilson, North Carolina. As reported by CNN, he was the only student to walk out of 700 classmates for the 17 minutes. He stated that he talked to others students about the protest in the morning, but they knew nothing about it. So, when the time came, he asked to walk out of his teacher’s class to participate. After letting him know the reason, his teacher, Mr. Mendez, let him promptly leave his Spanish class and participate in the protest.
Blackman then made a video outside the school remarking, ““Umm… hello Twitter, there’s going to be like six people watching this hopeful- ly,” he stated in the video. “It’s National Walkout Day. I’m the only one from my school out here.”
Blackman stated in a CNN interview that he chose to walkout to protest gun rights. “The students, we are the future and if someone gets [shot], guns blazing, someday, that’s the future gone.”
Wilson Preparatory Academy also commented on the situation to CNN: “We teach our students to be independent thinkers,” Janet Conner-Knox, the supervisor of public relations for Wilson Preparatory Academy, told CNN. “[Blackman] is an independent thinker.”
WRAL states thousands of students and teachers walked out in protest of the shooting that happened on Valentine’s Day in the Triangle. Students and teachers from all across Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill- amongst other districts. They all walked out for 17 minutes in protest of gun violence in schools, and to stand with the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting.
The National Walkout Day allowed thousands of students and teachers from all over the United States of America to join together and raise their voices on the matter of wanting gun laws that limit the possibility of gun violence in schools and public areas.
These demonstrations, rallies, and videos are showing how the younger generations are making their
voices be heard. Although, many complain about the younger generation’s use of social media, students today, like the Park- land survivors and the peaceful protestors, are using social media to prevent politicians, the government, and the news media from ignoring and sweeping their issues under the rug.
At the end of this month, one thing that can be said is that the youth communities of North Carolina have made a statement. Statements that say–just like their posters and signs– “The duty of youth is to challenge corruptions,” and that it’s been more than “Enough.”