It’s been a full month since the Parkland high school shooting took 17 lives, and lawmakers have done little to end gun violence. But change is coming. Today starts the first of several marches and school walkouts led by American teens in an attempt to finally bring gun control laws to Congress and stop America’s violent school shooting epidemic.
The Women’s March Youth Empower is hosting #Enough: National School Walkout today, marking one month since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. The protest takes place for exactly 17 minutes, one minute for every life taken in the Parkland shooting. Each walkout starts at 10am local time, and students are given the freedom to do whatever they wish to honor the victims’ lives—from saying their names to standing in silence.
Even before the day began, students and parents across the country already turned to social media, using #Enough to share their shirts, flyers, posters, and outfits in support of the walkout.
Others planned protests beyond the 17-minute walkout. Maryland’s Montgomery Blair High School, for instance, marched to the Silver Spring Metro Metro station stop early Wednesday morning in order to head over to a larger demonstration outside the White House.
And when one group of teens found out that their high school prohibited participating in the walkout, several students went viral with a letter imploring the administration to reconsider their stance.
Once the walkout began at 10am ET, students took to social media in droves, coming out in protest despite low temperatures and even snowy weather.
I’m walking out today because gun violence is something that involves me personally as a student but also as a citizen of the United States – Savannah Flores #ENOUGH #NationalSchoolWalkout pic.twitter.com/MjMdqtKbII— MTV Look Different (@LookDifferent) March 14, 2018
In one particularly heartbreaking display, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute students laid together on the ground in a “die-in,” representing the students who perished during the Parkland shooting.
Powerful: Hundreds of #Baltimore Poly students laying on ground to honor 17 victims killed in FL shooting & to push for stricter gun laws #NationalSchoolWalkout #NationalWalkoutDay #WalkoutWednesday pic.twitter.com/0pSFht6tVN— Rick Ritter (@RickRitterWJZ) March 14, 2018
The Poly students are lying down for 17 minutes of silence in honor of the Parkland victims. In trying to get her classmates to quiet down, one girl yelled out: "C'mon guys! We're alive. They're dead." pic.twitter.com/7iprGXcCHR— Talia Richman ☀️ (@TaliRichman) March 14, 2018
At the start of the anti-gun violence rally at Poly, organizer Barrett Wynn said: "This is not just about Parkland … This is about Virginia Tech, Columbine, Sandy Hook. This is about anyone who has ever been unsafe in a school because our government won't protect us." pic.twitter.com/IlAUj1fQc2— Talia Richman ☀️ (@TaliRichman) March 14, 2018
One Connecticut school held a 17-minute sit-in, and a group of students in Pennsylvania spelled out “#ENOUGH” on their school’s track.
Some Cloonan students chose to sit-in for 17 minutes of silence to demonstrate their solidarity with students all across the country. Then we talked about civic action. Do you have a plan? @SPSSuper @spsassistsuper @StamAdvoSchools #spsheart #dosomething #ENOUGH pic.twitter.com/HBjR4PdJux— David Tate (@cloonanprincipl) March 14, 2018
In powerful demonstration, rows of Fresno High students sit or lie down as the names of the 17 Florida victims are read allowed following a single beat of a drum. #NationalWalkoutDay California #Enough walkout pic.twitter.com/OEAjx89qbK— Mackenzie Mays (@MackenzieMays) March 14, 2018
Walkouts continued throughout the day as each time zone hit 10am, with kids of all ages pouring out of schools to take a stand against gun violence.
We are tired of gun violence in our schools, our communities, and our nation. We want progressive gun legislation now! #ENOUGH #NationalWalkoutDay (cc: @RosaFlores @womensmarch @SenatorDurbin @SenDuckworth @RepGutierrez) pic.twitter.com/fgNn4vNOg9— Mr. Lane's Class (@MrLaneReligion) March 14, 2018
One student even marched out to her snow-covered front yard and said the Parkland victims’ names aloud in the cold after her school was closed for the day.
Meanwhile, MTV and various Viacom-owned channels ended programming for 17 minutes, dedicating the segment “to young people who are leading the fight against gun violence.”
Celebrities are also tweeting their support throughout the day.
Dear Students,— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) March 14, 2018
I stand with you. I support you. #NationalWalkoutDay
Today students across the country are walking out at 10am across time zones to demand Congress take action to stop gun violence impacting all young people and all communities.— Paola Mendoza (@paolamendoza) March 14, 2018
Show them your support.
We see you, kids, and we're with you.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 14, 2018
And in Parkland, students participated in their own walkout, with hundreds leaving the high school as their parents looked on in support.
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed in a deadly shooting last month, walk out of their classrooms to protest for stricter gun laws as part of #NationalWalkoutDay. https://t.co/47n4q9i8te pic.twitter.com/yD1PaXc3iO— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) March 14, 2018
In total, over 2,800 schools and groups around the nation are expected to participate in the walkout today, Reuters reports. Two other protests—March for Our Lives on March 24, and National High School Walkout on April 20—are also being spearheaded by teen activists.
Whether Congress and state governments will enact any lasting change remains yet to be.
This article will be updated throughout the day to include walkouts in other time zones.