National walk out demonstrates youth activism

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Hundreds of students across Central Indiana and thousands across the country took a stand against violence Wednesday.

Students participated in a nationwide walk-out to honor the 17 lives lost in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, take a stand against violence and demand change. In Indiana, some students walked out of the building while other schools held moments of silence, read names or assembled in rooms. The common thread between each, though, was the show of youth activism.

"This is not just a moment this is a movement," Tim Nation, the co-founder and executive director of the Peace Learning Center, said.

The center works with students throughout Central Indiana to help them find peaceful ways to deal with conflict.

"I think the tragedy in Florida, on top of all the other mass shootings that we've had in our culture, that the young people have been waiting for adults to do something about it and they're tired of waiting and they decided to take action themselves," Nation said.

But students playing roles in movements isn't new. Take for instance protests during the Vietnam War or more recently students speaking out about DACA and immigration issues.

"This is the one time that we're seeing it occur on a national scale," Dionne Danns, an associate professor and department chair for institutional diversity at Indiana University, said. "When we see movements the part that we see is the mobilizing but the organizing that happens behind the movement sort of determines whether or not it will be successful."

Seeing students become involved in this way was welcome news for some.

"I’m tremendously excited about the activism students are taking both in Florida and high school, across the nation with high school, as well as college. The fact that students feel strong enough to be active I think is one of the most important things that they can develop while they’re in school, whether it's secondary education or college" Mike Bauer, a debate coach at Ball State University, said.

One thing that's for certain is that kids are taking a stand and a stake in their future. A march is planned for next weekend and some have indicated they will write letters to elected officials.

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