Student group continues planning 4/20 walkout

Anya Kaplan-Hartnett, Faizah Rauther, and Kristine Wang

On March 14, more than 300 Uni students walked out of class to hold 17 minutes of silence in remembrance of the 17 victims of the shooting at MDS High School in Parkland, Florida.

The walkout on March 14 was great, but there’s still much more to be done.

On April 20, students across the nation will walk out of school as part of a national student walkout to protest gun violence in schools and communities.

Student activists from Urbana High, Champaign Central, Saint Thomas More, Centennial, and Uni High have joined together with Black Lives Matter and Moms Demand Action to plan this event.

The Champaign-Urbana student group agreed that a teach-in would be most effective for our community because it’s important for students to be educated about gun violence before fighting for gun reforms.

At 10:00, Uni students will walk out of school and assemble in the courtyard to march together to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. At Krannert, we’ll meet up with students from the other four schools and march around Krannert as a unified group.

After the march, participants will eat lunch together in the Krannert Amphitheater if weather permits. Local restaurants and grocery stores have been asked to provide free food so that all students will be able to eat lunch.

Then, participants will move into Cowell Playhouse inside Krannert. For the afternoon, there’s a planned program that will include speeches, workshops, and performances presented by students and community members.

The program will focus on community gun violence and domestic gun violence. It will also address police brutality, our local government’s role in gun reforms, and ways to help survivors of gun violence.

Isaac Gewirth, a sophomore at Urbana High, says, “We’re trying to shift the conversation from school violence to violence within communities because it is something that isn’t talked about as much.”

Hopefully, the walkout will inspire students to think about what they can do to advocate for a solution to gun violence.

All students are encouraged to participate in this event. However, remember that leaving school to participate in the walkout is an unexcused absence.

More details, including a message from Uni High Director Jeff Walkington about the consequences of unexcused absences, will be available when a full event schedule is sent out next Monday.