On Wednesday, March 14, Friends’ Central students participated in the National School Walkout to end gun violence. Taking place exactly one month after the shooting in Parkland, FL, Friends’ Central joined schools nationwide who participated in the 17-minute walkout in honor of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, as well as other communities affected by gun violence.
Inspired by the victims and heroes in Parkland, FL, and led by over 40 concerned student and faculty organizers, more than 200 Upper School students and faculty chose to walk in silent vigil protest off campus to City Avenue. From 10:00-10:17 am, Upper School students and faculty lined City Avenue holding posters representing each victim in Parkland or representing gun violence statistics, peacefully protesting gun violence. Students and faculty planning the walkout chose to wear black to memorialize the victims. Another option for Upper School students was a semi-programmed Meeting for Worship, open to any student who chose not to walk out or who felt more comfortable remaining inside. Following these programs, students and faculty met in groups to discuss the walkout and violence in America.
Friends’ Central Middle School students also had a chance to participate in their own walkout program. Participating Middle School students gathered outside and began by holding hands to form a circle. Students and faculty then began Meeting for Worship, spent 17 minutes in silence, and at the beginning of each minute, a student rang a chime and shared the name of a person who was killed in Florida.
Friends’ Central students were inspired by the bravery and leadership of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, and Upper School students said they felt empowered by their own participation in the national school walkout, sharing sentiments like, “It felt right, it felt powerful. We have so much more power than the world gives us credit for and we even give ourselves credit for” and “We are the generation that can grow up and make change.”