Randolph students organized a walkout this morning to remember the lives of 17 students killed in the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and to show support for increased gun control.
More than 100 Randolph students, faculty, and staff gathered in front of Main Hall for 17 minutes for a ceremony that included a moment of silence, remarks from College Chaplain Jennifer Moore, and a performance of Amazing Grace by Songshine. Alex Wieczorek ’19, one of the student organizers and president of the College’s Young Democrats, also spoke.
“The purpose of this walkout was to show the Parkland community that they do not stand alone in this fight and to tell politicians that their failure to keep us safe will no longer be tolerated,” Wieczorek said. “The other students and I felt that we needed to take part in this because we have never known a world where school shootings were not a possibility. We’re tired of going to school and not feeling safe, and we’re tired of politicians ignoring the loss of lives. We understand that the time for change is now.
“These issues are important to me, personally, because I deeply care about the lives of my fellow students and myself,” she added. “I care deeply enough to want to live in a world where my loved ones can feel safe. I won’t stop, or be silenced, until we live in that world.”
For Sophia Dill ’18, another student organizer, the event was a chance for students to both stand up for the victims of the Florida shooting, while also advocating for change.
“The walkout was a memorial and a protest,” Dill said. “It’s been a month since the Parkland shooting, and still more people have died due to gun violence since then…The bottom line is this: people are dying violent, senseless deaths that could be prevented, and nothing is being done to prevent them.”
Dill also helped organize a bus trip that took Randolph students to the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017.
“We talk a lot about the Red Brick Wall here—being protected by it, and at home behind it,” she said. “I know my mother, other parents, and probably even professors worry that we as students are too insulated from reality. But today was about us acknowledging the world, about saying that we recognize that we are part of a community that exists outside our wall.”
Dill said that through their actions today, Randolph students continued a legacy of taking a stand for social change.
“The community that stood outside today joins the group that went to the march last January, the students who held a Black Lives Matter protest a few years ago, and the students who participated in the sit-ins in 1960 in saying that we see what is happening around us, and we will do something about it,” Dill said. “Randolph is a place that should be safe. Our Red Brick Wall should be a beacon of safety, a symbol of home. But Randolph is also a school. Today we acknowledged that schools are not immune from horrific violence. We also showed, again, that Randolph is a community of action. That we may be behind our wall, but we are not ignorant, nor indifferent to the wider world.”
See media coverage from WSET-13 at http://wset.com/news/local/hundreds-of-local-students-participate-in-national-walkout-day-to-protest-gun-violence