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Walking out for likes

Student body falls short in walkout

Katherine Williams '20, Lifestyles Staff

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As Jones students took to Polk Street to voice their opinions on gun violence, one thing was painfully obvious.

Hesitation.

While the student body was not hesitant to express their views on gun violence, students were hesitant to push beyond the planned walkout due to possible consequences and a lack of commitment.

It makes sense that students don’t have an emotional connection to this issue because Jones has not experienced a mass shooting, but students should pause before calling themselves activists if they refuse to accept consequences of a real protest.

Although many people will gladly post messages of solidarity and chant for improved gun control, students hesitate to advocate for change if they are afraid of what might happen if they stray from the walkout guidelines.

Posting pictures of yourself at the walkout on social media is not wrong, but it does not equate to being an activist or being committed to the cause.

While the walkout itself was a great way to show politicians that youth across America care about fighting gun violence, for a majority of students, it seemed as if that was the extent of their activism.

Jones is in a very visible spot in downtown Chicago. Students could have walked down State Street, to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office, or to City Hall. Marching to these places would have even further emphasized the dedication and dissent of our generation.

While the administration and student leaders did an impressive job of organizing the walkout and making it as safe and public as they could, the gesture of standing on Polk Street is not enough to show that this is something students are willing to fight for.

We have failed the victims of places like Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School if we are unwilling to truly stand next to them and put ourselves on the line for a greater cause.

Despite the empowering 45 minutes we spent outside, that unwillingness to sacrifice something in exchange for something more important made for a disappointing aftermath. A student body that brands itself as politically aware social activists fell short in taking actions to affect real change.

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