“We want to show we are the future and we can change…we have a voice” — Shriya Roberson, sophomore.
Effecting change has no age limit, as Rustin High School students are proving. On Wednesday, March 14th, for 17 minutes at 10am, Rustin will be holding a student-run walkout movement as both a show of solidarity for those affected by the Parkland, Florida school shooting, and a medium for like-minded students to speak up and work towards a better future.
I spoke to Shriya Roberson, a sophomore, on her role in this walkout movement.
“As a student and young citizen, I deserve a voice in this world,” Shriya said. “I want to show this country that my peers and I deserve a voice.”
Students will walk out of their classes to the front entrance and walk towards the stadium. Shriya is expecting 200 to 300 students to participate. After 10:17am, they will be holding a memorial for the Parkland victims.
Seniors Emily Simpson, Grace O’Malley, and Anna Panczner are also involved in coordinating the student-run walkout movement. All of these students, along with Shriya, are drawing on what they are currently learning in their classes and applying them to real-world situations. For Emily, her AP Government class has moved her.
“This walkout demonstration will be a symbol of our commitment to the generations to come, for a change in many different areas in our state and federal laws,” Emily said. “We, especially the new voter generation, have to thoughtfully vote to effect this change.”
For Grace, she believes that when everyone sees a shooting like this and does nothing, “[they] play a role in facilitating the next iteration.” Grace wants everyone to take responsibility in their own way and “keep the issue at the forefront of our minds, to refuse to let it go and let the media cycle reset.”
Anna is a firm believer in this walkout movement because, “One of the greatest mistakes we, as citizens, can make is to discontinue an important conversation.”
While this is a student-run movement, Shriya said that faculty are invited to join the movement.
“This is not a forced movement — this is a movement to unite us,” Shriya said. “[Faculty members] have a voice, too, and they want to stand behind us and show support.”
Rustin High School was not available for comment.
The feature image was taken by Gilbert Architects Inc.