You may have heard that there is an upcoming national student walkout that will be taking place in cities across the country on March 14. The event has been organized as a grassroots effort by students to bring awareness to gun violence and to demand that Congress finally take action by enacting stricter gun legislature. But even if you're not a student or an educator you can still get in on the action and support this effort to get Congress' attention. Here is how you can donate to the national school walkout and other gun violence awareness efforts organized across the country.
The national walkout that is scheduled for March 14 was organized by students in schools across the country in conjunction with Women's March, the progressive organization that organizes annual marches fighting for equality for women and other marginalized groups. The joint group, officially titled Women’s March Youth EMPOWER, has organized specifically for students, parents, and educators so that they themselves have the opportunity to demand that they feel safe in their schools. That being said, others are not encouraged to participate, per the event's FAQ page, in order to ensure the safety of students and faculty. The advice reads,
We are suggesting that only students and staff participate in their school walkouts. This is an important safety precaution we must take in order to help ensure the safety of students and staff.
But Youth EMPOWER does encourage everyone to show support nevertheless — and you can do so by donating any amount you can to their cause as they continue to organize events across the country that raise awareness of gun violence. You can also show your support on the actual day of the walkout by wearing something orange on March 14 to show your solidarity with the students. The Youth EMPOWER page states,
If others would like to participate, they can show solidarity by wearing orange and/or walking out of their workplaces to stand with others for 17 minutes. Feel free to post your actions on social media!
If you do decide to show your support though social media you can tag the Women’s March Youth on Instagram (@womensmarchyouth) and Twitter (@WomensMarchY), and use the hashtag #ENOUGH to be a part of the national discussion.
You may be wondering why Youth EMPOWER is asking that you wear orange to show your solidarity. The color has actually been symbolic of the movement advocating for gun safety for a number of years now. On January 21, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton was tragically shot and killed on a playground in the Southside of Chicago. In the wake of the tragedy, her childhood friends decided to commemorate her life by wearing orange — a color that represents what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others while hunting. Since then, the "Wear Orange" movement has been organized to raise awareness to gun violence issues while still respecting one's second amendment rights.
You might have also noticed a handful of celebrities wearing orange American flag pins to the Oscars on March 4 to show their support for the cause. Those pins were worn in direct response to the devastation felt following the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which took place on Feb. 14 and unfortunately saw the loss of 17 lives. The national walkout is taking place on the one month anniversary of the shooting to honor the victims.
It's definitely fitting that Youth EMPOWER is using this color across their social media and asking that orange be worn to show that you stand beside these students in their protest. So if you are unable to protest, show your support by making a donation and/or wearing orange on March 14 to tell Congress that something needs to be done about gun violence in this country. Enough lives have been lost over the years and these students need to be heard — and you can help them do so with a contribution.