East Lansing High School Students Stage Second Walkout to Protest Gun Violence
A year to the day after the last walkout, students at East Lansing High School left their classes once again on March 14 in continued protest against the lack of action on gun violence.
According to Eleanor Carr, co-organizer of the event, they were inspired to have another walkout by two things: the lack of change made regarding gun violence, and encouragement from organizers of the most recent Women’s March to remember previous school shootings.
“The Women’s March organizers have a campaign and they are encouraging students to be active and remember Parkland,” Carr said, adding that, “It had less to do with other towns and cities that are doing this and more about ‘we did this last year and nothing happened.’ ”
Last year’s walkout occurred on March 14, a month after a shooter entered Stoneman Douglas High School and killed seventeen people. ELHS also participated in that walkout and although Carr feels that the previous protest did not bring about the change they were striving for, she is happy with what it did accomplish.
“[Last year’s’] was effective in that East Lansing High School students haven’t raised their voices in that way, or hadn’t, in the last few years,” Carr said. “And so I think the idea of us taking that power, taking that step, recognizing that we have this right to speak and share our opinions and our beliefs was something that I think was unique about last year’s walkout. That really increased the power of what we were doing.”
This year’s walkout was also distinctive in that it was scheduled during instructional time.
“[The walkout being] organized during class this year put more emphasis on ‘you’re actually leaving instruction, you’re actually making that choice because of what you value,’ ” Carr explained. “And I think that that’s something unique about this year’s walkout that made it that much more impactful and showed the power of student choice and student voice”
The walkout this year started at 9 AM and lasted for half-an-hour. Students met outside of the school, where speeches, chants and poems were performed by students. Security guards and the principals monitored students. Parents also showed up in solidarity.
Carr added that the amount of people that participated increased over last year’s protest.
“I was proud of the turnout. We definitely had more people than last year, and I think that the message got across,” she said.
And as to spreading that message, she explained that this is the primary event focused on gun violence for Students for Gender Equality and Black Student Union, the two clubs that were also involved in organizing the protest.
Although the change may be slow and the impact not obvious, Carr is still proud of what her peers have accomplished.
“I’m proud of everybody who came out, I’m proud of everybody who spoke and I’m proud that East Lansing High School can stand for this, stand for what we believe in,” Carr said. “I’m proud that we can do this and that we have.”
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