Our view: Peaceful, powerful protest
At issue: Steamboat students joined other teens from across the country in a walkout Wednesday to protest gun violence and remember the 17 people who died a month ago in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.
Our view: The walkout was a powerful sign that the youth of our country want to make a difference and it should spur adults to action.
Editorial Board • Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher
• Lisa Schlichtman, editor
• Tom Ross, reporter
Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com.
More than 150 Steamboat Springs High School students, as well as students at the Steamboat Springs Middle School, walked out of class Wednesday morning in solidarity with students from across the country as part of the #Enough National School Walkout. Students joined together to raise awareness about gun violence and school safety.
The walkout was held exactly one month after the horrific school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and its purpose, in part, was to remember the 17 people who lost their lives Feb. 14.
It is estimated that students from about 2,800 schools across the U.S. participated in the walkout, and the protests varied in scope and message.
At the high school in Steamboat, the walkout was respectful, reverent almost, as students gathered in front of the school and stood in absolute silence for 17 minutes. The seven students who organized the walkout read the names of each of the Parkland victims — one every minute.
The walkout was a student-led protest. It was not a community event, and it was not organized by anyone at the school. The Steamboat Pilot & Today was contacted by one of the student organizers who wanted us to be aware that Steamboat would be participating in the national walkout. The young woman didn’t want the event to be promoted, just covered.
The students also alerted school administrators to the walkout, and district leaders did not condone or support the event, but they didn’t stop it either. They chose to honor the students’ right to peacefully assemble, and we support that stance.
A small group of parents and community members gathered on the public sidewalk off of the school grounds to watch Wednesday’s walkout and offer quiet support. At the end of the 17 minutes of silent protest, a few of the student organizers walked over to the group to thank them for being there, and the students received rightful applause.
The students who walked out in Steamboat Springs conducted themselves with dignity and were extremely respectful, and we think their choice to host a quiet, reverent protest reverberated loudly. We are proud that seven Steamboat high school seniors took the lead and organized the walkout. It makes us believe our community’s future is bright with young leaders like this taking a stand and protesting the unthinkable — the fact that students no longer feel safe in their schools.
From a national perspective, the walkouts were incredibly powerful, and the videos that were posted on social media from across the U.S. took us back to the 1960s when the youth of this country were protesting war, civil rights and women’s rights. But in this era, the students who are protesting are younger — some in elementary and middle school — beseeching our country’s leaders to find a way to stop the gun violence and make our schools safe again.
We support these student-led protests, and we are inspired the young people in our community are making their voices heard — even in silence — and saying “enough is enough.” And as Steamboat student organizer Amanda Perlman so powerfully stated, “It’s really our generation that is affected by it (gun violence), and we will be voting soon.”
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