Students, faculty and staff say #ENOUGH to gun violence
March 14 marked exactly one month since the shooting in Parkland, FL at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which left 14 students and three staff members dead and many others injured. In response, The Planned Parenthood Generation Action Team, with support from dozens of other student organizations and departments across Colby’s campus, organized an #ENOUGH walkout in solidarity with millions of other students across the country. The walkout intended to show support for ending gun violence in America and honor the 17 lives taken in Parkland. Students, faculty and staff were invited to leave their classes, meetings, and other commitments to meet on the steps of Miller for 17 minutes of silence, where one of the Parkland victims’ names was read every minute by Maggie Burgos ’18. Student Body President Elizabeth Paulino ’18 and Class Senator Brandon Park ’18 held a sign that read #ENOUGH. The event took place in the midst of a nor’easter storm, but still attracted hundreds of members of the Colby community.
Hundreds of students and members of the Colby community attended the #ENOUGH walkout. Following the 17 minutes of silence, several students registered voters in high traffic areas on campus as students returned to class.
The Echo spoke with Kat Restrepo ’18, Senior Class President and walk out attendee, about the event and its significance. “It can feel at times like there’s nothing we can do to impact significant change. But this isn’t the case, there is something we can do, something more than just hopes and prayers and that’s why the walkout is so incredibly important. It was an active stance against violence and for meaningful, necessary change and I’m so grateful that my peers and classmates took the initiative to organize the event.”
Groups who co sponsored included the Student Government Association, Feminist Alliance, the American Studies Department, the Biology Department, the Asian Student Association, the Women’s Hockey team,Students Organized for Black and Latinx Unity,and the Multi-Faith Council, among others.
Similar marches took place across the country, all led by the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER organization. In total, almost 3,000 walkouts took place nationally, from college campuses to pre-schools. Students across Maine also participated, including at Portland and Falmouth high schools, and St. Joseph’s college in Standish.
This is just one of three protests against gun violence that are taking place nationally and around the world. On March 24, March for Our Lives will protest gun violence with over 700 events across the world and a main march in Washington DC. March for our lives was organized by the survivors and teen activists of the Parkland shooting and the organization Everytown for Gun Safety. Another walkout, supported by Indivisible, is occuring nationwide on April 20, the anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School.
The College has voiced support for student protesting, with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid announcing that they would not penalize students who participated in the walkout or any protests surrounding this issue for missing class, even if they were punished in their own schools.