Adrian De Guzman

Student activist Rebecca Mathewson performs a spoken word poem about gun violence, surrounded by fellow organizers.

The students of Seminole High School have had enough. Today at 12:30 p.m., they staged a walkout protest to demand gun reform from their legislators.

“This walkout at SHS is being done to stand in solidarity with those lost and those survivors at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) shooting and all of those affected by the gun violence phenomenon,” said junior Mike Weiss, who helped organize the event.

This protest follows the tragic events that occurred at MSD High School, where 17 lives were taken by a gunman last month. Many students across the nation have been walking out and demanding change and reform of gun laws from the government. Therefore, several student activists at SHS organized a stand of solidarity with those who were affected by the shooting.

The rally was 17 minutes long: one minute for each victim of MSD. Additionally, the student activists honored the victims by wearing the pictures of the fallen students and staff on their shirts. Each student activist represented a victim whose story personally resonated with them.

“Today I am representing Meadow Pollack,” said junior Amber Price. “Her story just really affected me because her dad’s been really outspoken about his loss, and nobody should have to lose their son, daughter, or child.”

Several student activists also made speeches using the band’s megaphone to inspire their fellow demonstrators to demand change. For example, junior Rebecca Mathewson delivered a powerful spoken word poem about the horrors of gun violence.

“We are standing together to unify a nation’s concern for safety in our schools and to promote change,” Mathewson announced to the crowd. “We are not standing together in disobedience, we are trying to unify a nation’s need for change.”

Next, junior Malavika Kannan delivered a speech encouraging youth to use their power to hold their governments accountable.

“We’re not even old enough to vote, let alone use the bathroom without raising our hands first,” she said. “But let me tell you this: we are old enough to know right from wrong, we’re old enough to speak our minds, and we’re old enough to make a difference.”

Lastly, Weiss called upon leaders to enact specific gun control policies. “I pledge to vote with my brain and my conscience rather than my gun hand and my wallet,” he said in his speech.

In addition to marching with posters and delivering speeches, students were given the opportunity to write letters to Florida Federal and State Congressional Leaders, Marco Rubio and Jason Brodeur respectively. The letters included requests for leaders to enact specific legislative change that potentially has the power to prevent another calamity like the one at MSD. These include the repealing of the Dickey Amendment and expanded background checks.



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