56.5 F
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Western students walk out in national protest against gun violence

By Alissa Vanlandingham

Joining schools across the country, Western students protested gun violence on Wednesday, March 14, by participating in a walkout from 10-10:17 a.m. Each minute marked each life taken in last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

On a damp gray morning in Bellingham, approximately 200 students, faculty and community members slowly filed into Red Square just after the carillon bells chimed to mark the hour.

With rain falling lightly, some students began laying down on the bricks and others symbolically outlined their still bodies in chalk. The crowd was silent.

Students lie on damp bricks during National Walk Out // Photo by October Yates

“It was really emotional,” senior Emma Scalzo said after the protest. “I already knew I was going to be emotional. I was crying about this on my way to campus.”

Scalzo, a political science major, said she was impressed by how these nationwide walkouts were organized by high schoolers, most of whom aren’t even old enough to vote.

“It’s so influential,” she said. “The people in Congress defending gun rights have never been on the other side of an AR-15. They need to realize there are student’s lives at stake.”

A few impromptu speakers stood atop picnic tables and encouraged further activism, hammering in the point that action couldn’t stop here.

One speaker suggested students call the White House during the protest to demand change. Another reminded the crowd that their vote is their voice.

In front of Miller Hall, community members set up a booth where people could register to vote.

“I am just so happy I can be here and that I was asked to come, ” said Catherine Major, who was helping register people. “This issue- it’s close to my heart.

The protest brought around 200 Western community members to Red Square, including President Sabah Randhawa. // Photo by October Yates.

Fairhaven faculty member John Bower stood up to share the story of his wife and daughter who witnessed a shooting last year.

His daughter is now a member of the group Students For Action, created by students from four Bellingham area high schools to demand increased school safety. The group will be headed to Washington D.C. for the March for Our Lives Rally on March 24.

Around the country, students as young as 11 walked out on Wednesday. Some protests included repeating the names of the Parkland victims, and others involved releasing 17 balloons into the sky. Students in Washington D.C. took to the White House chanting, “We want change” and “never again,” according to reports from CNN.

Bower said some students are calling for walkouts on the 14th of each month until Congress acts on gun reform.


  1. If you are a Western student, staff or faculty member interested in getting involved, please join WWU Students Against Gun Violence that planned this action on campus.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Must Read

Behind the systems: WWU Newman Center forced resignation of student employee after learning of same-sex partner

Student says she was told to break up with her girlfriend or quit her job

Behind the systems: Former members frustrated over student’s resignation, double standards for dealing with sexual activity

Former members say rules regarding moral conduct were not applied equally This is...

Sports: Pros and cons of Seahawks’ NFL draft pick Malik McDowell

Why did the Seahawks go after a defensive tackle with their first selection in the 2017 NFL draft? Coming off...

Latest News

Looking forward to live music post-COVID-19

Analog Brass performing at their first show in 2018. // Photo courtesy of Maxwell Lemke

Western becomes first university in U.S. to offer palliative care minor

Western’s main campus is adding a new palliative care minor starting fall quarter. // Photo by Sophia Galvez

Whatcom County has one of the highest “unemployment rates” in Washington

Data from Washington’s Unemployment Security Department of initial unemployment claims by week since March in Whatcom County. // Graphic by Seth...

Thrifting at home becomes the new normal

The thrifting culture in Bellingham continues even in a global pandemic. Secondhand and vintage items are accessible online through various platforms...

‘ASP’s Music News and History’ podcast brings storytelling to the music industry

The weekly podcast “ASP’s Music News and History” was released by Associated Students AS Productions in April. // Illustration by...

More Articles Like This