Students at South Broward High School chant, “It could have been us, it can still be us,” at gun reform protest in Hollywood Friday afternoon. Students say they are standing in solidarity w the students of MSD. #ParklandSchoolShooting pic.twitter.com/C8UBiWtd2T— Audra Burch (@abscribe) February 16, 2018
The emotional wounds from the Florida high school shooting this week might never heal, but to students who are not even old enough yet to vote, staying quiet and doing nothing is not an option.
On Friday, about 50 teenagers who attend South Broward High School protested gun-related violence after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which is nearby, was attacked. Asking for more school safety and gun control, the group of students shouted slogans and carried signs that called out politicians to act on their behalf. Many of the signs even implicated lawmakers in the senseless mass murder that happened just two days prior.
Students have staged a walkout at South Broward High School in Florida in order to protest for better gun control. ???pic.twitter.com/Nq6nV7rn0O— Simar (@sahluwal) February 16, 2018
Fourteen-year-old Shane Dale told reporters that the fact his marching band competes with Stoneman Douglas’ makes him feel that they could be next.
“It doesn’t feel like school anymore,” he said.
“Nobody needs an AR-15 rifle for hunting,” he then added, referring to the Armalite 15 weapon used by Nikolas Cruz in the deadly shooting. “We need to get rid of assault rifles overall.”
Sara Rodriguez, 16, said the biggest culprit is the National Rifle Association.
Holding a sign that read “NRA is a terrorist organization,” Rodriguez told HuffPost that elected officials have failed her generation.
“I want to end gun violence,” she said.
But lawmakers aren’t doing enough.
“They don’t pay attention to our voice, and we’re really tired of staying silent,” she explained. “We are the future. We’re trying to make it, but we can’t do it if they’re not listening.”
Student Ianna Seemungal, 17, said that she, as well as many others like her, are tired of not having their voices heard.
“We don’t deserve this,” she said. “We need to be safe. There’s nowhere to be safe. ... We can’t even go to school.”
Unfortunately, it isn’t clear if lawmakers are listening.
With a Congress mainly ruled by Republicans, and with President Donald Trump in charge, the future of gun control legislation may be grim. With Democrats showing signs of recovery in the most recent elections, however, things could look much different in the years to come.
Until then, organizing grassroots movements to put pressure on lawmakers is how people like these students will have their voices heard.