On Wednesday, Feb. 14, a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida left 17 students and faculty dead. In the wake of that tragedy, teens across the country have been making their voices heard on gun control, trying to make sure that no child has to feel unsafe going to school. Most recently, their activism took form as a Presidents' Day protest outside the White House. These photos of the "lie-in" protest for gun reform at the White House are truly powerful.
The Presidents' Day demonstration was organized through Facebook by a group called Teens for Gun Reform, which was created by students after the Parkland shooting to call for gun reform and make sure that kids aren't afraid to go to school. Their first post on Facebook read,
We are high school students, horrified, heartbroken, and outraged by this violence. Schools should be safe. Shootings must come to an end.
At around noon students in the Washington D.C. area gathered outside the White House. One-by-one, students began to lie in the road for a three-minute "lie-in," intended to symbolize how long it takes to buy a gun in America, according to The Cut, which also noted that the actual time can vary from state to state. The lie-in was also, “in representation of the victims of school shootings,” according to the organization's Facebook page. Protests of this nature are often called "die-ins" because participants simulate being dead, but the organizer's Facebook page chose to use the phrase "lie-in."
In addition to lying down, people gathered with signs that said things like "NRA, there is blood on your hands"; "Thoughts and prayers don't save lives, gun reform will"; and "Protect kids, not guns." Eleanor Nuechterlein, one of the organizers, told The Cut that she estimated that "over 100" people attended the demonstration.
The group also wrote explained why it was so important to take action. They wrote,
By doing this, we will make a statement on the atrocities which have been committed due to the lack of gun control, and send a powerful message to our government that they must take action now.
Judging by the the photos and videos coming out of the protest, these students definitely managed to send a very powerful message.
After the Parkland shooting it's really been young students who have been the most outspoken.
Just like Teens for Gun Reform, a group of Parkland students who survived the shooting have decided to rise to action to make sure a shooting does not happen at any other school ever again. On Feb. 18, the students are planning a nationwide march to demand that our lawmakers start making gun reform a priority.
The march, called March For Our Lives, will take place on March 24 in Washington, D.C. along with other marches planned nationwide. The march is being organized by survivors of the Parkland shooting. In an interview with ABC, Sunday Feb. 18, Parkland high school junior Cameron Kasky explained that the time has come for them to take action because the younger generation feels that the adults have let them down and they feel unsafe. He said,
In every single city, we are going to be marching together as students begging for our lives. This isn’t about the GOP. This isn’t about the Democrats. This is about the adults. We feel neglected. At this point, you’re either with us or you’re against us.
On another television appearance, Kasky told CNN, "We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around."
Kasky, the other survivors of the Parkland shooting, Teens for Gun Reform, and many other kids like them are showing that it doesn't matter how old you are, anyone has the power to take action.
After a tragedy like the one in Parkland, it's clear that students might not be safe in their own schools, and it's forced them into action. Kids are taking on the White House, staring it in the face and saying, "You've failed at protecting us."