The Slatest

Thousands Nationwide Join Parkland Students in Walkouts and Protests for Gun Control

Activists and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School advocate for gun control a rally at the Florida capitol Wednesday.
Activists and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School advocate for gun control a rally at the Florida capitol Wednesday. Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Survivors from last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sparked a day of activism across the country Wednesday when they took to the Florida state capitol to demand stronger gun control.

About 100 students from the Parkland, Florida, who had to travel more than 400 miles to the state capitol, had driven up in three buses with chaperones and reporters the day before. They arrived Tuesday night, where they spent the night at Tallahassee’s civic center. Some of them had come directly from funerals for some of their classmates.

According to the Sun Sentinel, Sylvia Serrano and Enakai Mpire, two survivors of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, came onto the bus to support the students before they left. Once they arrived at the capitol, students met with lawmakers, sometimes publicly and sometimes behind closed doors.

The students reportedly were frustrated by the lack of progress and felt brushed off by some lawmakers, but their actions appeared to make a difference: According to CNN reporter Eliott McLaughlin, who was following the students, Florida Senate Appropriations Chair Rob Bradley told the students that legislators were working quickly to address their concerns.

As the students inside the capitol continued their meetings, thousands of supporters—many of whom were high schoolers—began gathering outside the building, chanting “we want change,” “never again,” and “shame on you.” According to the Sun Sentinel, hundreds of the supporters then flooded the capitol as the House was in session to protest yesterday’s vote to reject debate on an assault weapon ban, causing many Republican legislators to leave through a back exit.

Meanwhile, in schools around Florida and the rest of the country, students participated in walkouts to protest gun violence and demand action from lawmakers.

And students held rallies outside the White House and the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The week also began with activism, as dozens of teenagers in Washington, D.C., staged a silent lie-in outside the White House on Monday.

The student activists, including those from Parkland, are also organizing a march in Washington on March 24 to demand gun control and a greater emphasis on school safety. George Clooney and Oprah have said they will make large donations to the event.

The students’ activism appears to be producing results. According to USA Today, Florida lawmakers have expressed support for some of the students’ proposals, and Gov. Rick Scott has said a set of proposals will be announced by Friday.