. - Jill Singleton
On April 20 at 11:30am we had a school walkout to honor the victims of the Columbine Shooting. We did this because we thought we should raise awareness about the problem of gun violence in schools. We believe that this is something that people should not have to think about and we need to make this known. We heard about all of these walkouts that were happening throughout America, and we then said that we should have a walkout.
The Columbine Shooting occurred in Colorado at 11:19am on April 20, 1999. Thirteen people were killed. A couple days before our walkout we had a lunch to inform everyone about what happened. We shared our plan to walkout during school to raise awareness about this issue, and we stated our guidelines, which were that we would walk in silence to show respect. During this lunch we made posters to show as we walked around that were our words and feelings about gun violence in school that we would have said out loud if our protest wasn’t silent. The posters showed that people can choose other things over guns, and that it is crazy that other things have stricter rules than guns, like the sale of Kinder Eggs and dress codes for girls. Thirty-four Middle School students attended this meeting and the walkout - we were very happy to see everyone come out and make a difference.
While we held up our posters, we walked along Washington Street in silence. We got many supportive comments and thumbs up, which made us feel like we were informing the public and they were understanding what we were trying to do. We then went up to Elysian Park, walked around once, and came back to school, with the support of the police. We were very glad to make an impact on the general community and have our voices heard through our posters.
During National Junior Art Honor Society, NJAHS, we had the idea to make an art piece for our walkout so that we could have something to remember what had happened and what we did about it. Our idea was to make a heart out of cardboard and then cut it into three puzzle pieces. We wrote the names of the victims of Columbine on two pieces, and on the third we wrote “The Columbine School Victims” and added thirteen gold sequins to represent the thirteen people who died. This shows that they are remembered and honored, even many years after the event. The puzzle pieces show that, together, we are a much stronger force. After our march, we hung this artwork on the fence in front of the school to gain the attention of people walking by and raise awareness about the walkout and gun violence in schools.
This walkout showed the difference voices can make when they speak up, united as a front. We worked together to try to raise awareness, and wee want gun violence to end so no more horrific school shootings happen. Kids shouldn’t feel afraid to go to school and get an education. It’s time to change what is happening. No matter how old we are, no matter how quiet and insignificant we may seem, we want to make a difference and fight for what is right. We are proud we managed to implement this walkout and we are so glad so many of our peers decided to stand up and fight for what we believe is right. We learned a massive amount from this walkout, from how to organize this event to how to make the art instillation. We learned that not everyone will want to go along with your idea or understand what you want to do, but that should not stop you from doing something you believe in. We have also learned to respect everyone’s opinions and that people have ideas and goals that differ from ours.
Thank you very much to everyone who participated and to all of the teachers and administrators who helped us make this walkout a reality. Finally, thank you to our parents. We appreciate you allowing us kids to participate and speak up for what we think is right.
Written by Sophie, Oona, and Gretchen, Seventh Graders
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