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ETHS students participate in National Walkout Day

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Students gather at the ETHS football field on Wednesday for the walkout to protest gun violence.

Students gather at the ETHS football field on Wednesday for the walkout to protest gun violence.

Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer

Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer

Students gather at the ETHS football field on Wednesday for the walkout to protest gun violence.

Catherine Henderson, Assistant City Editor

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Thousands of Evanston Township High School students walked out of their classes Wednesday in an act of protest against gun violence, joining thousands of students from across the nation to demand gun control legislation to protect their schools.

Chanting and carrying signs, ETHS students walked across Church Street to Murney Lazier Field at 10 a.m. Over 3,300 students packed the stands and listened to classmates speak and called their representatives.

Emma Stein, president of ETHS’ student senate and the representative to the school board, opened the event and led the group in a moment of silence. She said she stands with the victims of school shootings around the country and victims of gun violence in Chicago, including children of color killed by police.

“Our voices ring out for Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Las Vegas, Orlando, Sutherland Springs, Stoneman Douglas and so many more,” Stein said. “Our voices ring out for the 3,457 shooting victims in Chicago last year alone.”

Students and teachers from hundreds of schools across the country, including Northwestern University and Haven Middle School, participated in similar walkouts at the same time to honor the lives of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

ETHS student Genevieve Lindy, who spoke at the event, said when she found out about the shooting in Florida, she was terrified. Not because she feared for her safety, but because she felt almost nothing. Lindy said this made her recognize that she had become “desensitized” to gun violence.

Still, she said the walkout was empowering because students deserve to have a place in the conversation.

“I was so overwhelmed with joy and pride that my student body was here for this issue … for ourselves and our education and our lives,” Lindy told The Daily. “(To the students from Parkland), I’m here for you, I’m in solidarity with you, and the action never stops.”

To President Donald Trump, Lindy said, “get your act together, big man.”

Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer
Students gather at the ETHS football field on Wednesday for the walkout to protest gun violence.

Student Liana Wallace performed a slam poem emphasizing “black lives and Latino lives” targeted by gun violence. She said gun violence and race are linked, and listed names of those killed by police.

“There’s a certain type of language that the media uses when it comes to different types of people,” Wallace said. “If there’s a white shooter, they’ll usually say he’s mentally ill.”

Organizers also helped participants call their representatives, passing out slips of paper with a script and phone numbers for local and federal politicians. They set aside 10 minutes for all students to get out their phones and demand gun legislation.

Stein told The Daily taking action is the most important part of the walkout.

“Never forget that everyone here today has the ability to create change and that our voices are stronger when united,” Stein said in her speech. “Today, our voices ring out in solidarity with the youth of America.”

Later in the day, Stein told The Daily that the school was on a “soft lockdown” — where students could move about the building but could not leave it — as a result of the reported gunman on Northwestern’s campus on Wednesday afternoon.

Email: catherinehenderson2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @caity_henderson

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