By Anna Scherer
It all started with a few students who worried about their safety. I, Anna Scherer, and my fellow Everest students have grown up in a culture where there have been shootings – so many that the shootings have become sort of normal, just a part of our world. But, as we saw more people lose their lives to the guns of others, we decided that, along with the rest of the country, we have had enough of guns. So we all gathered to plan a walkout to protest guns and inspire change.
We originally planned to do a 17-minute walkout like the rest of the country, but we extended the walkout to all day so we can stand up for all lives lost in the face of guns, not just the lives lost in Parkland. We want stricter gun controls and for our teachers not to be forced to carry guns, because we believe more guns isn’t a solution. We are marching for our safety and for our lives, so there will never be another shooting.
My fellow planner Tali Beres created a slideshow with the information all students need to know about the walkout.
Tali Beres, an Everest freshman, and Samantha Suchite, an Everest junior, are two of the organizers of Everest’s student-led walkout. They explained their plans, their personal ideas and their influences.
1. How was the issue of gun control brought to your attention?
“It was brought to my attention because [of] the news of the shooting, and it made me sad that students my age were being killed because someone else had a weapon; and, if you think about it, we could have also been in that position,” Suchite said.
“It first came to my attention when I heard what school shooting was, when I heard, I heard about Sandy Hook and that the gun was bought legally and it killed so many people and that a lot of stuff is easier to buy than a gun,” Beres said.
2. Who influenced your passion for this subject?
“A teacher named Ms. Thiele from last year. She brought in my interest about human rights and law,” Suchite said.
“I would say the media and watching all these other teens stand up for your rights,” Beres said.
3. What do you believe needs to changed in America?
“I believe that the mindset of Americans needs to change. By changing their mindset they will be open to new ideas and be able to come up with more, better resolutions that will benefit all parties (lower class, middle class, the rich class, minority communities, etc.),” Suchite said.
“There needs to be stricter laws on guns to prevent gun violence. There needs to be more respect in our country for students – their voices and their safety. Besides gun control, I believe all people need to be seen as equals. We need a new president,” Beres said.
4. How do you think you can change these things?
“I think that by putting my ideas, or part of an idea, into motion [that] will start the revolution of a possible new change,” Suchite said.
“Standing up and using our voice. Nothing will be done if we are silent,” Beres said.
5. What outcome do you expect to see from these changes?
“I expect to see an outcome that is similar to what I thought it would turn out or a completely new idea that is heading towards the area of growth and a positive change. I expect to see communities uniting,” Suchite said.
“I want to see us get the justice we deserve,” Beres said.
6. How are you standing up for this cause and how can others join you?
“I am participating in a walkout that will verbally speak and physically show how much we (youth) would like to have a voice and choice of how to lead our lives. This topic, of guns, is rather very sensitive to the adults, but to the many teens [it] is rather not because many of us see the effects that guns have when handed to people. They are not for protection when they are brought to schools by children themselves. Teens can help by posting on media (after all our generation dominated the social networks) or join us in walkout / marches so our words can actually make an effect,” Suchite said.
“I am participating in my school walkout against guns to fight for gun control. Other students are joining as well,” Beres said.
7. Tell me more about the walkout: when is it and who can participate?
“The walkout is a connection to the 17, TEEN lives lost in a shooting all because a certain student was upset AND at that time had a gun at hand. The walkout is on March 14, 2018 at 9:15 it is either for 17 minutes (for the 17 lives) and the other where they go to City Hall to protect and try to get out voices heard to make an actual change,” Suchite said.
“The walkout is on March 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Anyone from the Sequoia Union High School District (teacher or student) is encouraged to participate,” Beres said.
8. Why was this walkout organized this way?
“The walkout was organized this way because we thought that 17 minutes of our time would not speak as loud as ditching and making ourselves heard by walking all the way to city hall to speak about this issue. We also thought that by joining together with other schools it would: one, bring more students; two, see that private, charter, and public high school really care and are on the same boat of interest,” Suchite said.
“This walk out was designed this way so we all have a voice,” Beres said.
9. What will students do during this walkout?
“We will chant and raise our posters to the public and our (small connection to the) government to show that we want to be involved and take part in choices that meddle with our lives,” Suchite said.
“We will protest for peace and justice. We will use our voices for what we believe in,” Beres said.
10. Anything else people need to know about in order to participate?
“You have the right to speak and protest and the right to media as long as it is peaceful and mindful then all is good and no violence should be inflicted. Teens should actually fight their way in making their voices heard by the higher-ups in order to get our voice heard and action taken into account, but, more importantly, our solutions to these problems,” Suchite said.
“There will be a 17-minute protest in Everest’s parking lot, and in order to go to City Hall we recommend you have your parents call and excuse you after 10 a.m. Also please don’t come just to ditch or smoke; that’s not cool or permitted,” Beres said.