Walking out: A national movement’s impact on Edinboro

Category:  News
Wednesday, April 25th, 2018 at 5:49 PM

A group of senior Edinboro University sociology students took part in National Walkout Day on April 20, which honors the now 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School. At 10 a.m., students across the nation walked out of their classrooms to stand in remembrance of the 13 students killed during Columbine. This comes only a month after the #Enough National School Walkout planned by the Women’s March that took place on March 14.

The Edinboro sociology capstone class, taught by Dr. Lee Williams, started the semester out by seeing what issues were “palpable in our current social dynamic,” said English writing and sociology major Patrick Broadnax. Sociology club, or Edinboro Rising, came together to plan the gathering “as a show for support and a moment to empower our peers to use their voices for positive change.”

“We planned this because it was something that the youth took fire to, so it was something [where] we could stand behind and support them,” senior sociology major Hannah Williams said. “It was important to all of us to stand behind young activists.”

During the walkout, the students met at the Fighting Scot statue next to the Pogue Student Center, where they had set up signs and displays honoring the 17 people who were killed at Stoneman Douglas High School during the shooting on Feb. 14. 

The students had set out a pair of shoes for each Stoneman Douglas student, accompanied by a picture and short biography. Additionally, Edinboro student Abby Woodell, who organized Edinboro’s previous participation in the National School Walkout on March 20, read Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope is the thing with feathers” aloud. She also listed facts and statistics about gun laws and gun violence in America.

Broadnax read a poem titled “April 20th, 2018,” while a few bystanders looked on. Some people stopped to read the various displays.

According to the National School Walkout website, the walkout is: “a movement powered and led by students across the country. We’re protesting congressional, state, and local failures to take action to prevent gun violence.”

“After the shooting in Parkland, Florida and the repetition of gun violence occurring in schools and elsewhere, we saw this boom of America’s youth coming together to say ‘never again,’ [and] that something has to change because we cannot keep having generations of kids grow to inherit the trauma of gun violence,” Broadnax said. 

The website also stated there were over 2,600 walkouts planned for April 20. 

“This isn’t a trend or a moment,” Broadnax said. “When you hear these young people speak, you can hear and feel their passion, even if their voice shakes — especially if their voice shakes. I think it (return of revolutionary energy) has some in power a bit scared, but this is not the first time young people have had to pull this country ahead in its social evolution, and I doubt it will be the last.”

Williams also spoke of that energy. “The cause to me means a lot, but I think my big take-home is that kids are so empowered and I am so proud to be behind something that they have created, believe in, and deserve.”

Dakota Palmer is the executive editor for The Spectator. She can be reached edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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