March 14, 2018 By Tara Law and Nathaly Pesantez
Students in Astoria and Long Island City joined a nationwide school walkout this morning to protest gun violence.
High schoolers from the Baccalaureate School for Global Education in Astoria as well as the Academy of American Studies, the Academy for Careers in Television and Film and Bard High School Early College Queens in Long Island City, participated in the walkout alongside many other schools in the city and country.
Starting at 10 a.m., the 17-minute protest was held in honor of the 17 lives lost in the mass shooting at Majority Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida one month ago.
Hundreds of students from the Academy of American Studies gathered in the school parking lot in a walkout planned by the student government. Many of the students wore orange, the school color of Majority Stoneman Douglas.
Students read the names of the dead in Florida and released 17 orange balloons.
Among the students who addressed the crowd was 17-year old Nuzhat Wahid, a senior.
“The students and faculty—2,972 students and faculty—of Stonemason Douglas lost what we take for granted: security, comfort, safety,” said Wahid. “We are here to commemorate 17 lives that were lost that day. We are here to advocate for a change that will make certain that this will never happen again. We are here as part of larger movement to make certain that there will never be another Parkland.”
Wahid said later that she had felt inspired to act after watching videos from the attack.
“It made me realize there’s a lot more at stake than just simple politics,” she said.
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D- Astoria, East Elmhurst, Long Island City, Jackson Heights, Maspeth, Sunnyside and Woodside) also spoke in front of the students at the Academy of American Studies. He praised students for taking action.
“This is happening because of you, the young people,” said Van Bramer. “Some of you may not be registered to vote, but what you’re doing today is so powerful. I hope you understand the power in each of you and the power in this collective of 16, 17 years olds to change this country for the better.”