National School Walkout Event at Foothill College


Serena Phanitdasack

The Foothill College community listens to speeches from students and educators during the 17 minute National School Walkout.

Last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is yet another case of America’s periodic gun violence. The ramifications of this shooting, though, were unique. They sparked a surge in activism, with people of all generations rallying behind the hashtag #NeverAgain. Yesterday was National Walkout Day, during which students across the country protested against gun violence on their campuses. On March 14th, 2018, the Associated Students of Foothill College, the Social Justice Project Club, and the Classified Senate co-organised Foothill’s own school walkout event. The protest gained momentum as hundreds of students walked out of their classes to meet at Cesar Chavez Plaza for a 17-minute of gathering at 10:00 a.m. to commemorate the victims of gun violence and urge Congress to enact more stringent gun regulations.

Sociology Honors Professor and Social Justice Project Club Advisor John Fox commenced the open-mic gathering by emphasizing the significance of the protest and showing his gratitude for the students and faculty members that attended. A large poster was laid out on a table at the center of the plaza, and students and faculty members surrounding it were encouraged to write condolences for the fallen victims. One by one, event participants wrote the names of deceased victims of gun violence along with blessings on the large poster. Others sent letters to the families of the deceased. The rest of the onlookers gazed at the poster and plaza podium in silence as melancholy filled the air.

At 10:17 a.m., Professor Fox rang a standing bell 17 times to commemorate the 17 young students who passed away in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month. Subsequently, volunteers and club members gave speeches at the podium about their thoughts on Congress’s inaction on gun control legislation, and paid tribute to the countless innocent victims who have died because of it. A few speakers who offered their own perspectives on the matter were Sarah Hamidi, a member of the Associated Students of Foothill College, Melanie Ogawa, organiser of the walkout event and leader of Social Justice Project Club, Chinwe Idika, Foothill Student Trustee, and Danya Adib, President of the Associated Students of Foothill College.

According to Hamidi, “When there is a pattern [in gun violence,] something needs to be changed.”

After the event, Emily Aung, a participant at the walkout and project leader for the Social Local Project in Enactus Club, said, “It was a really heartwarming experience to see so many people come together. It’s a step forward and hopefully we’ll keep walking towards our goal.”

As the students and faculty members dispersed at around 11:00 a.m., the walkout concluded. Despite its somber nature, the event became a beacon of hope for America’s future. It reflected the growing number of compassionate individuals willing to fight for what they believe in — the establishment of better gun control policies. This fight will continue on March 24, with the March For Our Lives rallies occurring across the country.

As students return to classes, many hope National Walkout Day will act as a constant reminder that if we combine our voices to fight for a common cause, parents could someday send their children to school without the fear that they might become the newest victims of gun violence.