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West Students to Walk Out March 14

One+of+the+posters+for+the+walkout+taking+place+this+upcoming+Wednesday.+
One of the posters for the walkout taking place this upcoming Wednesday.

One of the posters for the walkout taking place this upcoming Wednesday.

One of the posters for the walkout taking place this upcoming Wednesday.

By Adisa Ozegovic, Staff Writer

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There will be a student-led walkout conducted on the scheduled national student walkout day of Wednesday, March 14, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Those orchestrating the event will begin calling down students to the front entrance at 9:50 a.m. Around 10:00 a.m., organizers will center the attendees around the front steps of the school, where there will be a 17-second moment of silence following a short speech from senior Noor Alassdi.

Following the moment of silence, students will fan out to Oakton St., where they will begin their chants — some of which include, “we are students; we are victims; we are change!” — and displaying of their posters.

The entire organization and preparation, which has spanned over three consecutive weeks, for the walkout has been conducted by students, many of which used the “Effective Steps of Activism” presentation by Daniel Kosiba as a basis. Students have solely created posters, informational flyers, and social media for promotion of the event.

According to the mission statement provided by the student organizers, the walkout is being conducted in an attempt to “stand in solidarity with those who lost their lives due to gun violence in Parkland, Florida” and “demand congressional action, through the passing of common sense gun laws, to be taken in order to diminish gun violence within schools while protecting the Second Amendment rights of the people of the United States.”

Students believe that the walkout will initiate the beginning of an important conversation of gun reform and school safety at West and will be a powerful display of solidarity for people of Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

“I hope that the walkout starts a conversation at our school, as divisive as the topic is. It’s no longer something that we can shy away from — especially if we hope to hold a clear conscience. I hope that [Marjory Stoneman Douglas] students realize over and over again that they are not alone, and that we as students hear them and their pleas for help. I hope it causes a ripple of change for the future,” senior Sofia Dekhytar said.

Senior Nicole Cwiok believes that the media has normalized tragic events due to how often they occur. However, due to the pressure for action enacted by the victims of the shooting, Cwiok is certain that the events in Parkland will not be forgotten anytime soon.

“I am seeing with the Parkland, Florida shooting that the students are not allowing this to be a ‘phase’ anymore,” Cwiok said. “If people constantly put pressure on this issue then social media won’t move on to the next big trend and forget about gun violence. I feel as if this time, students and others will really be making a difference by fighting for school safety and diminishing gun violence.”

According to Zoha Ullah, a student who has been helping organize the event, the walkout is an attempt for students to “cry out” for congressional action to prevent future attacks from occurring.

“In this walkout and subsequent ones, I hope that us students will be able to exercise our need to be safe in schools and to have common-sense gun laws that will prevent senseless attacks at schools,” Ullah said. “Effective gun control and upholding the Second Amendment can coexist, it’s just a matter of taking the first step. And because many of us aren’t old enough to vote, demonstrating protests and walkouts are our steps to change. We are crying out for change. And we’re going to make sure we’re heard.”

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