Serra Sowers

Hundreds of students filled out letters addressed to their local leaders.

Malavika Kannan, Junior Editor-in-Chief

On Friday, close to 400 Seminole students walked out of class to express solidarity with the victims of gun violence nationwide. As part of the demonstration, students signed over 250 letters to state representative Jason Brodeur and senator Marco Rubio to demand increased gun reform.

“To stand in [support] of those at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and to promote legislative change, we asked students to write letters to state and national Congress,” said student organizer Mike Weiss.

By supplementing the protest with specific calls to action, the student activists hoped to prove that they had done their research and were willing to voice their concerns in a civilized manner. They set up tables with draft letters— and plenty of Sharpies— for students to fill out and sign.

“I signed [the letter] because I want to be safe,” said junior Elizabeth Gopsill. “I just think that our generation is the one that’s going to fix all the problems. We have the power, and it’s our time. I handed out a ton of letters because it was the right thing to do.”

The draft letters, which were written by student activists, included calls for specific legislative policies to be followed by congressional leaders. For example, the letter to Marco Rubio requested the enactment of certain federal policies, including the repeal of the Dickey Amendment and the creation of a federal waiting period for the purchase of firearms.

Similarly, the letter to representative Jason Brodeur listed policies that students hoped he would help enact at the state level, including the expansion of background checks and closure of the gun show loophole.

As a constituent of yours and a future voter, I respectfully demand that you find the courage to take [these] actions to keep students safe from gun violence and prevent further mass shootings,” the letters stated.

The entirety of the draft letters can be read here.

During the demonstration, hundreds of students signed the letters, which included a space for students to add individual concerns. While some students kept their input brief— one anonymous letter stated, “I support these actions because I want to live”— others were more elaborate.

“I did not go to college to be a security guard and I am fearful every time an announcement comes on at school. School is no place for fear,” an anonymous teacher wrote in a letter.

The success of the letter-writing booth was ensured by half a dozen student volunteers, who assisted in passing out and collecting letters.

“While handing out the papers, I felt that I was part of a cause that was greater than just the sake of the name,” said junior Leila Grant, a student volunteer.

Ultimately, the student activists hope that the letters will show leaders that their generation is aware of and invested in the future of their nation. Students interested in contributing letters should refer their questions to @seminolewalkout on Twitter.