Students across Delaware and the country walked out of class and raised their voices in protest and hope that actions can be taken to prevent future devastating shootings such as the attacks that occurred in Parkland, Florida one month ago.
At Charter School of Wilmington and Cab Calloway School of the Arts thousands of middle and upper school students and faculty walked onto the football field at 10am to hear remarks from senior classmen as well as from Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and State Senator Bryan Townsend of Newark. Members of the senior class led a powerful display of remembrance, and they urged their fellow coeds to get engaged by reaching out to legislators to affect change.
Cab Calloway student Emma Miller, one of the organizers, told the crowd, “Today we use silence to express our devastation and outrage, but tomorrow we use words. This means speaking out.” Calling for an end to gun violence, students were urged to contact their representatives at the local, state and federal level to let them know they want better background checks, enhanced mental health screening, and a ban on assault rifle weapons. “And remember, when you’re old enough – vote.”
Mayor Purzycki said he was proud to watch a remarkable generation of leaders express solidarity with their peers in Florida. Mentioning the ever rising number of mass shootings in the U.S., the Mayor urged the students to remain vigilant. “Don’t let this event fade into normalcy.” He also encouraged the younger generation to become civically active and “do better than his own.”
A small group of Charter School seniors created homemade posters — one for each of the shooting victims at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – which included the victim’s name, photograph and a brief personal description. Speaking in pairs, students then shared highlights about each victim and their hope for eradicating gun violence.
The crowd also joined in 30 seconds of silence after every name was read aloud to honor the lives of each victim. Following are some of the highlights of the remarks by students:
“I’m tired of not feeling safe at my own school. And I’m tired of nothing being done about that.”
“School is where we grow up and feel secure. It should not be a place of danger.”
“In this country, mass shootings can happen anywhere you go – parking lots, movie theaters, schools. Too many lives ended too soon. We can’t bring back those we’ve lost, but we can prevent the loss of any more. All the kids like Alex
“Today we stand silent, but we will not be silent.”
“17-year-old Nicholas Dworet dreamed of making it to the Olympics. This tragedy stripped him of his chance to live his dream. What we can do is honor him by advocating for change.”
“We need the FBI and the US government to listen to our concerns. And we do not need more guns in schools.”
“It is senseless and unfair that Joaquin is not here. Let these be the last lives we celebrate who died because of gun violence.”
“We need action and we need it now. We took too long to take action. Enough is enough.”