Georgetown students walked out of their classes on March 14, 2018 to join the nation-wide #Enough! movement, a response to mass school shootings. Georgetown students came together in Healy Circle for 17 minutes, with each minute representing one of the 17 victims from the school shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14. On the same day, 3000 other schools in the nation, ranging from middle schools to colleges, joined the walkout. This activist movement calls for stricter gun laws and encourages participants to vote at midterm election in November to support legislators who will take more substantial action to enforce gun control. There were placards and some applause to welcome the speakers, but the event found more meaning in the silence to honor the victims.
Organizers of the movement on Georgetown’s campus handed out flyers outlining what the next steps to the walkout should be to further urge Congress to pass legislation that would either ban assault weapons or require more extensive background checks before gun sales. Some of the next steps included registering to vote, calling the Capital Switchboard to ask members of Congress to prioritize gun violence prevention on their agenda, and joining the March For Our Lives on March 24.
One of the speakers led the group into a moment of silence and stated, “One month ago, it only took 3 minutes for one person to take 17 beautiful lives. Let us not only honor the 17 victims but all those who had to suffer.” This walkout was a protest against the psychological trauma that students and their families continually experience because of the perceived constant danger of gun violence.
Zachary Fagan, a freshman at Georgetown, then shared a story about his cousin, who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting while working as a teacher. After sharing his personal story, he asked the school to stand in solidarity with him because gun violence directly affects all students, and, if not solved, generations of future children.
Georgetown University President John DeGioia joined the student population, applauding the solidarity of the students against gun violence and the way responsible community members are speaking up about an often unrecognized issue. President DeGioia stated, “When we are faced with challenges like the one we face today, we respond best when we respond together.” He again emphasized the importance of cooperation when he stated, “There is a conviction that we share as members of this community and we hope to achieve what we could not achieve alone.”
School walkouts are only the beginning of a series of protests against gun violence planned for upcoming weeks, so by the November 2018 elections, the outcomes of this activism should become clearer.