Since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, there have been ten major school shootings in the U.S. that have killed a total of 122 people. This doesn't include domestic terrorism incidents like the October 2017 Las Vegas massacre, in which 58 people were killed, or the Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016, which left 49 dead. Despite these horrific numbers, little has been done to curb gun violence.
Since last week's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, survivors have banded together, spoken out, and organized in a way we haven't seen in decades. Students planned a massive protest in Tallahassee on Wednesday, determined to convince Republican Governor Rick Scott to pass gun control legislation. The day was well documented.
Students met early in the morning to begin the nearly seven-hour journey to the capital:
By noon, there were already thousands of people at the capitol building:
Videos showed the young students, most of whom can't yet vote, making their voices heard in the face of personal tragedy:
Students made powerful speeches:
And the protests spilled out into the streets:
Protest signs called for major change:
“When leaders act like children and children act like leaders, it’s time for change.” Speakers rage against Florida’s lawmakers in Tallahassee. Hundreds of students from MSD High are joined by other local teens, parents, teachers and politicians to campaign for swift action. pic.twitter.com/WHRCVtWe4N— Kylie Morris (@C4KylieM) February 21, 2018
And as legislators ended their floor session, they were greeted by these chants:
The students protesters received massive support:
The sustained activism of students of Douglas High School is a beacon for us all. They are leading the way.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) February 21, 2018
This is the Obama generation. He told them for 8 years to be the change they want to see. They're doing it.— Christina Jefferson (@tampagirl19655) February 21, 2018
damn you for making me cry at work... I'm so freakin proud of these kids— Tracey (@TeegSoAs) February 21, 2018
A few people pointed out the wisdom of some old lyrics:
"Come senators, congressmen— Chris Bastian (@ChrisBastianBkl) February 21, 2018
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'."
Come writers and critics— Lori Dorn (@HRLori) February 21, 2018
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.
And many predicted trouble for politicians in the NRA's pocket:
Ignore at your peril. All these young people will have the right to vote soon.— Janet Grishaber (@jlgrish) February 21, 2018
And each has two parents who will be voting this year!— Linda McDonald (@landscapedziner) February 21, 2018
Sophie made this wise point:
I know it's facile, but I keep thinking these kids also grew up reading about Harry Potter and Dumbledore's Army, and about Katniss Everdeen fighting Pres. Snow. Young people speaking truth to power is in their memory banks at the very least.— AuntSophie (@AuntSophie1) February 21, 2018
And this person was all of us:
Dear Young adults— 305 Pirate ☮💜☠ (@305Pirate) February 21, 2018
My heart is full, my eyes are damp and for the first time in over a year I have hope again thanks to you
You are what we fight for, stand for and love about America.
Thank you for reminding us#standwiththekids #Florida #ParklandStudentsSpeak
Keep on fighting, kids!