activism Common Dreams Gun Violence

At March for Our Lives, A Call for a Nationwide Strike of Schools

March for Our Lives organized over 450 protests across the country to demand gun control laws.
An aerial view of large crowds are seen during the ‘March For Our Lives’ protest as they march on Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, United States on June 11, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun via Getty Images)

By Common Dreams Staff / Common Dreams

Hundreds of thousands took to the streets in over 450 protests across the country Saturday demanding lawmakers take action on gun control laws in the wake of recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. March for Our Lives, the youth-led organization created by students who survived the mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, organized Saturday’s rallies.

Patricia and Manuel Oliver, whose son, Joaquin, was among those killed in Parkland, addressed the Washington, DC crowd announcing a new campaign called I Will Avoid.  “Our elected officials have betrayed us and avoid the responsibility to end gun violence…Today we announce a new call to action, because I think it’s time to bring a consequence to their inaction.”

Manuel said, “If lawmakers who have the power to keep us safe from gun violence are going to avoid taking action,” then he’s calling for a nationwide strike of schools, from elementary to college.

“Avoid attending school if your leaders fail … to keep us safe,” he said. “Avoid going back to school if President Biden fails to open a White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention so that we can finally give this issue the attention that it deserves.”

He added, “If lawmakers who have the power to keep us safe from gun violence are going to avoid taking action that will save our lives, then young people across this country, everyone else who can hear my voice should also avoid. Avoid attending school if your leaders fail to do the job and keep us safe from gun violence.”

Manuel echoed a call published last month in The Atlantic magazine “Students Should Refuse to Go Back to School” as reported by Common Dreams.

Parkland shooting survivor and activist X Gonzalez also spoke at the Washington rally: “What I say here today is mostly directed at Congress. I’ve spent these past four years doing my best to keep my rage in check, to keep my profanity at a minimum so that everyone can understand and appreciate the arguments I’m trying to make, but I have reached my fucking limit!”

Gonzalez drew loud cheers from the crowd. “We are being murdered. Cursing will not rob us of our innocence. You say that children are the future, and you never fucking listen to what we say once we’re old enough to disagree with you, you decaying degenerates! You really want to protect children? Pass some fucking gun laws!”

In Portland, Maine, hundreds rallied in a park outside the courthouse before they marched through the Old Port and gathered outside of City Hall. As they marched, they chanted, “Hey, hey, hey, NRA, how many kids have to die today.”

Common Dreams

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13 comments

  1. Public schools should teach students about the effect of US gun sales. Defense contractors have made a killing on sales to Saudi Arabia at the expense of people in Yemen.
    Students may be mimicking what the military-industrial complex is doing.

  2. Term limits might be a place to start. That would free the government from undue corporate influence. So many fossils in our corrupt, corporate influenced government. It’s like night of the living dead. Let’s elect some young people for Christ’s sake.

    1. Term limits are anti-democratic. The original reason they were enacted was to prevent someone like FDR from being reelected continuously. We need major electoral reforms, but term limits is not the answer and would in fact cause more problems than it solves.

      1. generational term limits seem appropriate to me; 18 yrs in the house, 24 for the senate
        the entrenchment of the fossils is untenable

  3. I sent this comment to Charles Blow at the vaunted ‘Times’ — which IMHO is whistling past the graveyard of our ‘Times’:

    Charles, while “these ‘Times’ they are a-changing” slowly, and maybe a bit progressively, they could well cause a massive PITA (pain in the arse) for the ‘Times’ — even more so than Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader combined — if young and seriously progressive ‘Times’ folks start to do what “Whistle-Blowers” in the CIA, NSA, and other disappointed but very smart employees have inexorably done since the 1960’s.

    The progressive side of this conflict is going to expose and explode the comfortable decades old deceit — with the help of academics from the 2001 “American Empire Project” — as well as thousands of courageous college and even well informed high school students who have nothing to lose in ‘telling the truth” about this:

    Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal Child-Killing & War-Starting EMPIRE, controlled by the ‘Ruling-Elite’, UHNWI, <0.003%ers, TCCers, arrogantly self-appointed "Masters of the Universe", and "Evil (not-so) Geniuses" [Kurt Andersen] — which hides Empire behind their totally corrupted dual-party Vichy-facade of faux-democracy.

    The 'National Security State' is about to have it's clock cleaned!

  4. And the news today about Congress agreeing to more mental health and more policing in schools, yet once again, no high power weapons control. This is just an insulting and disgusting slap in the face to all. Why do they hate children and innocents so much? I agree with a school boycott. Parents will do better to teach their own children and avoid propaganda and conditioning, than to argue with fascists and fundamentalists or rely on them for anything.

    1. @Rita
      I also hate the idea of cops in schools. I also agree that kids get brainwashed in school, but home-schooling isn’t the answer. The vast majority of parents are brainwashed, so what do you think they would teach their kids?

      An honest school curriculum would be a better approach. Present all sides, and I mean ALL sides, of issues, and let the kids decide as they grow older. And stop testing kids so much, this is done at the behest of the business class and is highly detrimental to an actual education. Kids should be taught HOW to think, not what to think.

      Another major problem with schools is that they serve more to socialize kids than to educate them. Kids do need to be socialized, but that’s not the same as brainwashing them to be obedient and scared of authority, and that also needs to be eliminated.

  5. Sorry, but mere “gun control” laws aren’t the answer. We need to remove ALL guns in this society, including from cops, and to legalize victimless crimes like drugs, gambling, and prostitution, the latter to eliminate turf wars over this stuff (and for civil liberties reasons, but that’s not relevant to this discussion). Doing those things would actually fix this problem; anything less does that much less. You’ll never get people to accept the idea of giving up guns if a-holes like cops and organized crime still have them.

  6. “Americans” have no other way to deal with any disagreements than violence. They tell the rest of the world what to do and punish them if they disobey. They make enemies of anyone they do not subjugate, then ensure others follow their lead or are also punished. They sell weapons and pretend this is “defense” while refusing real health, education, peaceful jobs to their own population, who are taught to distrust others and react with violence to any disagreement.

  7. They get us to build our own prisons, in this case in the carceral institution of the school, which has already advanced agenda of surveillance and security over decades of defunding and demolition. Protesting problems whereby more of the same police state solutions are likely is not intelligent. But who shall educate the educators?

  8. but of course, movies & video games have nothing to do with the “gun culture”

  9. If ALL professional athletes went on strike the next time a mass shooting happened – or a black man was killed (murdered/lynched) by the cops, things would happen – fast.

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