By Jana Julian | Staff Writer
One month after the Parkland mass shooting in Florida took 17 lives and injured 17 more, thousands of students in Hawaiʻi joined students across the country as they protested the increasing gun violence in schools. On Wednesday from 10 a.m.- 10:17 a.m., students walked out of their classrooms to show the government that they are serious about demanding gun reform at a national level.
Students from the University Laboratory Charter School and Sacred Hearts Academy joined UH students and local organizations, Young Progressives Demanding Action and Moms Demand Action, for the National School Walkout held on Bachman Lawn at UH Mānoa. Protesters gathered on both sides of the street, holding signs, shouting “Never again! Enough is enough!” as cars drove by honking their horns in approval.
Monica Kenny, a junior at Sacred Hearts Academy, said “Our government cannot keep allowing children to be gunned down in schools [or] citizens to be shot in streets and homes but they do, because at some point as a culture we have decided that owning guns is more important than protecting our lives, that the interests of the NRA are apparently more important than our safety. We’re here today to say that enough is enough. The students of Hawaiʻi, the children of our future, are to say that we, not only demand changes, we are the change.”
Students are protesting because they want to feel safe when walking the halls of their school; school should be for college and career readiness, instead of active shooter drills and funerals. A local radio station, Island 98.5, and many on social media said that it was better for students to “Walk up, not out.” This suggests that students should walk up and say something nice to students who, in layman terms, would be likely to conduct gun violence in school, rather than go out and protest to demand that the government enforce stricter gun laws.
Taylor Mckenzie, a senior at Sacred Hearts Academy, said “[People] could be thinking that there’s no reason for us to be here today because yes, Hawaiʻi does have some of the best gun control laws in the country, but that does not mean that we can be complacent. That does not mean we can ignore the rest of the country where people die every day from gun violence. Now, more than ever, we must stand with our fellow students across the country to demand that our government prioritizes our lives over the NRA and guns because we do matter more.”
To continue the fight against gun violence in schools, students across the country will be participating in the ‘March for Our Lives’ event on March 24, from 10 a.m. – 12 a.m. at the State Capitol.