By Faith Oak
Wednesday, March 14, marked an unforgettable day in Granada Hills Charter (GHC) history. Students and staff came together for a meaningful demonstration during nutrition on the football field. They marched in solidarity with the national walkout, marking a month since the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
GHC accommodated the student-organized day with a special bell schedule, which allowed time for the demonstration as well as an extended lunch, during which booths related to the walkout were set up in the quad. Students were also given the opportunity to sign up for and attend workshops throughout the day that addressed topics such as stress management and anti-bullying.
To organizers, March 14 was crucial in allowing the large student population a platform to show support for the Parkland students in a meaningful way and to garner attention in order to end gun violence and advocate for school safety.
This goal was ultimately successful, as the demonstration made its way onto the local news and other stations such as CNN. For many participants, the sessions signified one of the first times they were able to feel truly involved in an issue that often feels far away.
“Personally, I felt the day was really productive in that it allowed us, as students, to find new ways of addressing the issue and creating positive change. I definitely felt as though I learned a lot,” junior Daniel Villafana said.
During lunch, students and teachers signed banners with messages for the victims, wrote letters to legislators, and registered to vote. Select students went onstage to speak out against gun violence and to advocate the necessity for change.
One of the reasons the event was so special was the knowledge that not everybody held the same views. In a school of nearly 5,000 students, the beliefs surrounding gun legislation are diverse, but the common sympathy and emotions for the victims of Parkland and those who had lost their loved ones in a senseless act of violence was a unifying force.
Of course, not everyone chose to participate. Some were fearful of the notion of gathering large amounts of students in concentrated areas, especially considering the topic being discussed. Others felt that their own views were not represented in the events and that they would be a minority on a day that seemed to support liberal views.
The school’s participation in the nationwide movement, however, was meant to educate students and open up discussion between students and teachers. It directly addressed fears that students have been dealing with every day and aimed to raise political awareness.
On March 14, we united as a school to stand in solidarity with Parkland and the rest of the nation. It was a show of support to all those affected, and a symbol of our understanding that the shooting may have been the work of one, but the product of many.