The National Walkout to Protest Gun Violence

Image Source: KIRO7 Click the link below to see video and more pictures taken by the helicopter as it flew overhead..

Today, my children learned how to participate in civil disobedience. Today, my children learned how to fight for their rights.

Today is March 14, 2018, and thousands upon thousands of students across the country walked out to protest the lack of gun control laws since Columbine and Sandyhook and Parkland.

Today, I watched as over 300 elementary school students, their teachers, their principal, and their grownups walked out of school, together, walked up the street, together, and walked onto the grass of a neighboring park to create a giant peace sign.

Today, I watched 300+ students ages 4 to 11 holding handmade signs asking for “Peace, love, and safety.” I watched teachers looking proudly at their energized kids. I watched aides lovingly guiding little ones who needed extra help. I watched teachers from the nearby Boys and Girls Club show up early just to cheer the kids on, shouting, “I am so proud of you kids! Thank you! I’m so proud!” I watched parents’ eyes well up watching this beautiful display while thinking of why we were truly doing this. I watched parents helping kids who weren’t theirs, holding hands of kids who weren’t theirs, smiling and high-fiving and cheering kids who weren’t theirs and who were.

Today, I saw change. Today, I saw tragedy turn to hope in my own back yard. Today, I saw a diverse community of kids and families and teachers and administration come together for the good of all kids. Today, it was a small thing. But so many small things across the country can build together to become something great. Today, we might have planted the seeds of change. Today, the kids showed all of us that they will stand for what they believe. And today, we showed our kids that we’ll stand with them.

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This post was written on March 14th, 2018, the day of the National Walkout to protest gun violence in schools. Initially, we were unsure what the protest would look like in an elementary school, but I intended to take part, even if it meant just walking outside alone with my kids for 17 minutes. We were surprised and delighted to discover that our PTSA, and ultimately our entire school staff and population, rallied behind a plan for a Peach March.

Because it's an elementary school and because leadership wanted to respect parents' rights to educate their kids about current events as they see fit, the march was organized as a "Peace March" during the school's recess time. Kids made posters in homerooms and art classes about "peace, love, and safety in our schools." It was clear that some kids were well aware of why we were marching, and some kids weren't. Regardless, it was a powerful message to send to all the children. Although my kids are only in first and third grade, we chose to participate in our school's developmentally appropriate protest to help sew the seeds of agency, self-advocacy, and ultimately, love and care for our fellow humans.

For more about walkouts across the nation, see some of the articles and photo essays below. NYT: Article here and photo essay, featuring my kids and I in their school's peace sign, here WaPo: Articles here and here CNN: Article here The Atlantic: Photo essay here

Vox: Photo essay here

Time: Photo essay here

About Shannon

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