By Daniel Xuereb, Business Manager
On March 14, 2018, Mills students participated in the “National Student Walkout” to protest gun violence and school shooting in the United States. The “March for Our Lives” and “National Student Walkout” protests was created in response to the events that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a gunman opened fire on their campus killing 15 students and 2 teachers. In response to the school shooting, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas raised their voices to be advocates for comprehensive gun control, which inspired hundreds of thousands of students across the country to fight for gun control, including Mills students Kaitlyn Chan (senior), Sarah Huang (senior), Annie Lu (senior), Megan McDaniel (junior), Herman Peng (senior), and Stephanie Wong (junior).
The attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas has not been the first mass shooting event during many Mills students lives. There has been over 200 school shootings since Columbine (1999), 10 of which 4 or more people lost their lives, these include Virginia Tech University (33 deaths), Sandy Hook Elementary School (27 deaths), Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (17 deaths), Umpqua Community College (10 deaths), Red Lake Senior High School (7 deaths), Oikos University (7 deaths), West Nickel Mines School (6 deaths), Northern Illinois University (6 deaths), Marysville Pilchuck High School (5 deaths), University of Arizona (4 deaths). Along with the two worst mass shootings in American history that took place at a concert in Las Vegas Nevada, where 59 people were killed, and at a nightclub in Orlando which took the lives of 50 people. The outcome of these shootings have been surprisingly low for any nation; The variety of semi-automatic rifles that were used in Orlando, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, and in Parkland are still legal to buy and own in many US states. The lack of response the gun crisis is what has triggered students across the country to hold this nationwide protest to raise a voice against gun violence.
These student walkouts have been the largest student protest in recent history, nearly one million students participating nationwide in the “National Student Walkout”. At Mills, our community came out in mass numbers to participate in the walkout. The event began at 9:40 a.m. in center court to hear students speak about gun reform and why the “March for Our Lives” is significant. At 10:00 am students marched off campus for seventeen minutes, one minute for each victim, for every minute the name of a victim was called out to honor their lives. Students walked down the Spur Tail and returned back on campus at 10:17 a.m. where there were sign-ups for pre-registration for voting and a sign sheet for a petition to Congress were located.
The organizers that planned this event wanted to show solidarity with the rest of the country. Though the area that we live in has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country the purpose of this walkout was to get students involved with the national conversation. Herman Peng exclaimed, “the fact is that this is a national movement so a facet of this movement is to honor those who have passed due to gun violence, it is also to encourage leaders from across the nation to better address this issue….”
On March 24, 2018, students organized an event that took place on the official “March for Our Lives” day at Beresford Park in San Mateo where local leaders spoke about gun reform. These student and teacher run events has been to show that America needs and wants gun control laws so that there will be no need for another gun control walk out or another national day of mourning because of a mass shooting event ever again.
Photo Credit: Ava Chen, Mills Thunderbolt