“This is just the beginning,” West High School Liz Love told the crowd gathered in front of the school. “Today, by walking out, we are telling our leaders and our lawmakers that we are watching and we are listening and we demand change.”
The walkout was organized by Zeia Woodruff, a junior at West High School.
“Ten o’ clock hits, and these students are just pouring out of the doors," Woodruff said.
Woodruff and the students who organized the walkout were hoping to see about 200 students participate. Instead, about 2,000 walked out. The survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting inspired Woodruff to organize the walkout.
“Seeing the teenagers and the students standing up to politicians and asking the real questions that were affecting our lives," she said. "Asking politicians, ‘What are you doing to ensure that I don’t die tomorrow at school?' And not backing down, and not taking roundabout answers, and not taking any of the excuses."
Students at West High School walked out in solidarity with students at more than 2,500 schools nationwide.
“This walkout is not an event," Woodruff said. "It is a call to action and we will not be silenced when our lives are at stake.”
Students registered to vote at the walkout. They want legislation requiring universal background checks, an end to the Dickey Amendment, and limitations on assault rifles and modifications that allow guns to fire at similar speeds.
“The force that’s driving this movement from students is the most innate human desire to live,” she said.
West High School students will participate in March for Our Lives on March 24. They plan to march from their school to the state Capitol building.