Pasadena Unified students marked the last day of the Spring semester Thursday by staging “Gun Violence Prevention” walkouts to push for gun control legislation in the wake of mass shootings marring campuses and communities across the country.
Demonstrations occured at Muir, Blair and Pasadena High Schools and Marshall Fundamental.
Co-organizer and 11th-grader Briseyda Lopez told the gathered students at Marshall, “Today we gather to bring awareness and recognize the flaws in our country’s government, specifically in reference to gun violence. Just last Tuesday, May 24th in Uvalde, Texas, a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers.”
“Students and teachers — just like us,” she said, “at a school, a place in which we should be able to feel safe.”
Lopez continued, “Unfortunately, this was not the first school shooting but when will it be the last? The U.S. has surpassed 200 mass shootings this year and 27 of them were school shootings. I, as a student, fear for the safety of my peers, teachers, and myself. Why is there a priority to protect guns instead of children? Open your eyes, America, this should not be normalized!”
“That’s why we stand here today to denounce gun violence,” she said. “We shall not stay silent and we demand an immediate change in policy.”
The walkout and demonstration involved nearly 50 students at Marshall, and was organized over the weekend by a small group of 11th grade students—Lopez, Natalia Vargas, and Stephanie and Estrella Barcenas.
The Marshall organizers said they were in turn inspired by two of their teachers—AP Psychology teacher Daniel Jarashow and AP American History teacher Andrea Flores.
Flores also spoke at the demonstration.
Co-organizer Vargas pointed out that their activism had also inspired other local student leaders at Muir, Pasadena and Blair High Schools to stage similar events.
Following the demonstration, Lopez added, “Don’t be afraid to speak out. One person can actually make a difference. Your voice matters.”