In the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting, which occurred on Valentine’s Day, there has been both immense support for those affected by the tragedy, and also great effort put towards improving issues related to gun control in this country. One such effort is a National School Walkout taking place on April 20, which some Haverford students will be participating in.
“The walkout that is planned on April 20th is an all day walkout, so at 10:00am you leave you classes and ideally you take the time to reflect on how gun violence has affected you or those around you, call all of the people that you can like your local senator or your senator here [in Pennsylvania]…talk to people about the issues,” said Eyasu Shumie ‘21, who created the Facebook page for the event. “It is meant to raise awareness so the more schools that participate in it, the more the issue will get talked about.”
According to the Facebook page for the Haverford branch of the walkout, the event was originally organized by Lane Murdoch in tandem with other survivors of the Florida shooting. There is also a march scheduled to take place on March 24 in Washington, D.C., with the goal of combating gun violence and spreading awareness on issues surrounding gun legislation. Given the distance, however, most Haverford students will most likely attend the walkout in April.
“That is one of the benefits of this happening in April…the way the news is now, in two weeks who knows what we will be talking about – if we can keep this discussion going into April that would be really cool,” said Shumie.
The walkout, which currently has 41 students planning to attend the event and another 53 interested, is meant to be an act of protest – a physical demonstration of the discontent felt within student communities regarding the lack of gun control legislation being passed by Congress.
In response to the popularization of this walkout event, many colleges nationwide have declared that protesting against gun violence will not hurt future students’ admissions prospects. On February 22, Haverford College joined these colleges, as discovered through a tweet from Haverford’s Dean of Admissions Jess Lord.
We want to assure any students who choose to participate in peaceful protests against gun violence and who receive school discipline for walking out that you can report this to Haverford and we will not hold this against you in the admission process. #ParklandStudentsSpeak
— Jess Lord (@HCAdmissionDean) February 22, 2018
Shumie made a point to mention that, given the initiative of students around the country and the support from colleges nationwide, it is important to take advantage of the moment and work to affect change. Shumie commented on this in the context of the political moment:
“There is a lot of energy around this shooting in particular, especially because it comes at a time where a lot of people are politically engaged, so taking this time to become even more politically engaged and really work towards trying to solve this issue is something we should all be working towards.”