A group of teenagers who say they are desperate for some action on gun control staged a silent “lie-in” outside the White House Monday, in the wake of the deadly Florida school shooting last week.
The event was organized over Facebook by a group called Teens for Gun Reform, which listed their intentions in a post: “By doing this, we will make a statement on the atrocities which have been committed due to the lack of gun control, and send a powerful message to our government that they must take action now.”
Dozens of students assuming the pose of corpses lay on the sidewalk in view of the White House, with their arms crossed over the chests.
The somber protests lasted only a few minutes “in order to symbolize how quickly someone, such as the Parkland [Florida] shooter, is able to purchase a gun in America,” organizers wrote, alluding to Nikolas Cruz, who, according to court documents, confessed to firing on unarmed students and teachers with a legally purchased AR-15 rifle.
The Valentine’s Day rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 dead and 15 wounded.
“We must stand together in solidarity as the younger generations, and show our legislators that we demand reform in order to feel safer in our classrooms,” the group declared on Facebook.
The D.C. area group is part of a groundswell of students across the country challenging politicians they argue have failed to make schools a safe haven from gun violence. They are organizing rallies and a national walkouts demanding stronger gun laws.
Students from the Florida high school are planning a massive rally against school and gun violence called “March for Our Lives” in Washington D.C. on March 24.
Smaller rallies and protests are being organized in cities around the U.S.
“We’re going to have, in every major city, somewhere that people all across the country can go to,” Brendan Duff, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School told NPR.
He said students “want to feel engaged, and they want to work they’re doing something to help. And this is it.”
The Women’s March youth branch, EMPOWER, is also organizing a national school walk out on March 14, the one month anniversary of the Florida shooting. CNN says the rallies are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in every time zone and last for 17 minutes — one for each victim who lost their life in the massacre.
Meanwhile, the White House says President Trump will host a listening session with high school students and teachers on Wednesday and meet with state local security officials on Thursday.