By Samantha Bartholomew
A small cluster of Riverside City College students gathered at the entrance of the A.G. Paul Quadrangle to raise awareness about the issue of gun control.
Students and teachers throughout the nation began walking out of their classrooms March 14 as part of the #Enough! National School Walkout to raise awareness about issues of school safety and the impact of gun violence.
The walkout is to commemorate the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“Our children are being slaughtered in what should be their safest environment,” RCC student Lori Glass said. “The time for silence or thoughts and prayers are over.”
The demonstration was organized by RCC student Kayla O’Connell, who said she was inspired by the students of Parkland who have sprung into action in the aftermath of the shooting that took place one month before.
“This is such an important conversation that deserves to hold our attention as long as possible,” O’Connell said.
The nationwide march, organized by Women’s March Youth Empower, began at 10 a.m. Many marches lasted 17 minutes, to represent each of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“We view this work as part of an ongoing and decades-long movement for gun violence prevention, in honor of all victims of gun violence — from James Brady to Trayvon Martin to the 17 people killed in Parkland,” stated the Women’s March Youth Empower website.
“Sometimes, history has shown us that as adults we become complacent and accepting of an unjust world,” Mary Figueroa, Board of Trustee secretary, said. “It has taken the younger generation to show us the way.”
Figueroa referenced her thoughts that some of the most notable movements in history have been led and driven by students.
“It happened during the civil rights movement and with the issue of gun violence it appears to be happening again,” Figueroa said. “As students, we are more open intellectually to varied points of view, regardless of the consequences. More power and support to the students. I’m very proud of their active stand on such a violent issue.”
The subject was particularly personal to Wendy Miller-Aceves, an RCC student and a mother of two non-school aged children.
“Our children are worth 100 soldiers and 100 million of adults, but we don’t value them to the extent we should,” Miller-Aceves said. “Our children are speaking out and fighting back because our lawmakers won’t.”