Thousands of students across the country are expected to participate in a 17-minute walkout demonstration in protest of the recent deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The effort coordinated by EMPOWER, a youth imprint of the Women’s March, is calling on all students to participate in honor of the 17 people who lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, after Nikolas Cruz opened fire on Valentine’s Day. The group expects more than 2,500 walkouts, according to CNN.
Protesters want a ban on assault weapons, universal background checks before purchases and a gun violence restraining order that would give courts permission to disarm those displaying precursory signals of violent behavior.
Demonstrations are slated to begin at 10 a.m. in their respective time zones across the country.
Protest organizers include Victoria Pannell, a Duke University student who since the age of 12 has used her voice to advocate for gun reform. The New York native sat down in an interview with Now This to explain why political leaders on Capitol Hill can no longer ignore the crucial need for gun control.
“This is a time in where our country should be united in fighting for gun reform,” Pannell said.
A majority of the schools are not planning to take action against students who participate and have also made an effort to ensure safety.
However, certain administrators are threatening to punish students who choose to participate. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, enforcement should be no harsher than if students decided to skip class on any given day.
Other means of participating is to wear orange, or walk out of your place of employment for 17 minutes in solidarity with demonstrators.
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