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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Students Walkout to Demand Action on Gun Violence and School Funding

Students Walkout to Demand Action on Gun Violence and School Funding

Boston, Massachusetts — March 14, 2018

Students and youth walked out of school and marched on the Massachusetts State House to send a powerful message to politicians here and across the country that enough is enough, and we will not stand by as young people are killed in schools and on the streets of Boston. We will be back even louder, with even more of our friends, to keep demanding the future we deserve. A future when all young people in our Commonwealth have the right to a good education and safe neighborhood no matter where they live.

We will continue fighting until the issue is nonexistent,” said Michael Martinez, a student organizer and METCO student from Roxbury attending Weston High School. “We will persist in our advocacy until the sounds of gunshots in urban communities are replaced by the sounds of children playing, parents laughing, and people living.

While school was called off in much of the area today, groups of young people still started gathering this morning, with some walking to their closed schools to protest. At 10:00AM, students marked 17 minutes of silence for the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School one month ago today.

Massachusetts can’t simply worry about Massachusetts… most of the guns are coming from the states around us with much laxer gun laws,” said Vikiana Petit-Homme, a junior at Boston Latin Academy and student organizer. “Massachusetts lawmakers must work with surrounding officials to stop the iron pipeline that bring these illegal guns to our neighborhoods.”

In downtown Boston, over 500 students marched into Gardner Auditorium and delivered testimony to a packed room and at least 25 state lawmakers. Students demanded that lawmakers commit to passing two bills: the first would create “red flag” extreme risk protection orders that allow police to take away guns from people who are a risk to themselves or others. The second bill would fix the state foundation budget for schools, which has left school districts across the state lacking the resources they need for students.

“The prison-like atmospheres that many of us face in school are not aiding in our learning or our states of mind,” said J.D. O’Bryant Technical High School student Evelyn Reyes. “We need counselors and not cops in our schools.”

“Students are this movement,” said Charlotte Lowell, Andover High School senior and student organizer. “And we won’t stop until we feel safe in our streets and in our schools.”

The order of student speakers at the State House: (1) Vikiana Petit-Homme, (2) Michael Martinez, (3) Evelyn Reyes, and (4) Charlotte Lowell.

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