A month after the tragedy that claimed the lives of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., thousands of students nationwide walked out of their schools on March 14 at 10 a.m. Students are urging politicians to pass gun reform laws now—not at a distant, unspecified date in the future.
The student protestors have drawn global support, across political lines. And with the walkout—organized by Women’s March Youth Empower and scheduled to last 17 minutes, one for each of the lives lost in Parkland—these students will not be deterred in this crucial fight. #Enough is #Enough.
But what does National Walkout Day mean for Black Americans, specifically? Here’s what you need to know:
A Crackdown on Gun Violence
Women’s March Youth Empower organizers and advocates explained why they want folks to walk out, including people of color, who are most impacted by gun violence.
“We are walking out for ALL people who have experienced gun violence, including systemic forms of gun violence that disproportionately impact teens in Black and Brown communities,” a statement on their website reads.
An Examination of Militarized Police Actions Against Students
With a rise in the number of videotaped incidents of police officers and security guards getting into physical confrontations with students of color, the march seeks to draw attention to the disturbing trend. Organizers also want to confront police brutality, which disproportionately affects communities of color.
“It is important that when we refer to gun violence, we do not overlook the impact of police brutality and militarized policing, or see police in schools as a solution,” another statement on the Women’s March website reads.
Push For Voting Rights
Organizers will encourage folks to register to vote by sending a text with the message, “P2P” to RTVOTE (788683). They want to make it clear that when elected officials fail to do their jobs, they fail communities—and these communities can then vote them out of office. This includes elected officials who do not advocate for Black Americans.