By Sora Park
On Wednesday, March 14th, a month after the Parkland shooting, Granada Hills Charter (GHC) participated in the national school walkout by hosting multiple activities meant to help students make their voices heard.
With the objective of standing in solidarity with those in Parkland, Florida, at 10:00 a.m., students and staff laid on the football field, spelling out “#ENOUGH” with their bodies. Participants spent 17 minutes in a moment of silence, aside from a gong rung every minute, to remember the 17 innocent victims of Parkland, as well as all other victims of gun violence.
“While the gong was ringing, all I could think about was how 17 is more than just a number. Each gong represented a life, a student or teacher or staff who was supposed to do something amazing in the future until their lives were ruthlessly taken,” junior Constance Chiang, one of the student coordinators of the event, said.
Multiple students and staff wore orange shirts, the color of Gun Violence Awareness Day, to school. By 7:30 a.m., thirty minutes after the student store opened, all of the orange t-shirts the school had offered were sold out.
“Without having to protest in a violent way, the orange shirts were one of the many ways our student body was able to peacefully voice our stance on ending gun violence. Knowing that the shirts sold out so quickly was so encouraging,” senior Jamey Seo said.
Throughout the school day, multiple workshops were held for students to partake in. Workshops consisted of self defense training, an anti bullying presentation, a stress management course, social media workshops to help students voice their opinion, and seminars on how to engage with government officials.
“I enjoyed the anti-bullying seminar. The speaker brought up many great points on ways
that we can avoid bullying through social media and at school,” sophomore Lauren Como said.
During lunch, multiple booths were set up for students to speak directly with legislative representatives such as US Congressman Brad Sherman, State Senator Robert Hertzberg, State Assemblyman Dante Acosta, and representatives of Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Voter registration booths were also available to help students pre-register to vote, displaying the importance of having a direct voice through the polls. Moreover, stations to talk to military officials, write letters to the families of the victims of Parkland, and write to the GHC administration were in the quad.
In the midst of all these activities, English teacher Rachael Phipps and students Ben Ramirez, Alessia Brunacini, Brittany Daley, Timothy Meyer, Megha Jain, Matthew Moran, Eden Mollica and Kara Glaser delivered speeches on stage.
“We are not going to allow yet another mass shooting, another dozen lives to be lost at the hands of an American with an AR-15, another media cycle of NRA backed politicians offering their thoughts and prayers. We are here. We want change and we will not stop until legislators take the necessary steps to ensure this will never happen again,” student organizer Ben Ramirez said.
Since the March 14th event, many students participated in the March 24th March to Washington at Downtown Los Angeles and have continued to project their voice for gun control.
“I thought the March 14th event unified the school in a way I had never seen before. It really is hard for us students at Granada to have a voice in issues that affect us as a community and to really have a student-led event that was proposed, organized, and pushed by classmates made an individual impact on me,” senior Ijeoma Meremikwu said.