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Students protested gun violence across the country during National Walkout Day on Wednesday, with voices of teens of color rising as part of a social justice chorus. Thousands of young people stood up against poverty, police brutality and the gun violence that claimed the lives of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14. For 17 minutes on Wednesday, young folks of all races united together to also honor each of the Parkland victims.

Let’s look at some of the most profound moments during the protests:

Chants of “I’m Black and I’m Proud” 

Students at Chicago’s Kenwood Academy took some inspiration from the past — James Brown to be specific. They declared “Say It Loud: I’m Black and I’m Proud!” as walking. Chicago has been an epicenter of gun violence, with protesters calling for more community help and investment in combating shootings.


Say Her Name: Virginia School Remembers Courtlin Arrington

One school in Alexandria, Virginia held their protest for 18 minutes, dedicating the last 60 seconds to remember Courtlin Arrington, an African-American student who was fatally shot at a school in Birmingham, Alabama.

“[When Black women] are killed their names aren’t remember[ed], so I thought it was important to add,” Naomi, an 11-year-old 5th grader and walkout organizer identified only by first name, told the Guardian.

Younger kids know what’s up and what’s at stake, too!

One Protester Is Still Powerful

Justin Blackman, a 16-year-old student in Goldsboro, North Carolina, was the only member of his high school to walk out. His bravery garnered a Twitter shout out from the  American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

HBCU In Formation, Too

In the weeks leading up to National Walkout Day, racial justice advocates cited statistics to stop conservative pushes for arming teachers and endangering lives, especially considering that students of color are disproportionately affected by gun violence, Think Progress reported.

Black children face the highest rates of gun-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With that in mind, students at Xavier University in Louisiana also took the mic against this violence on National Walkout Day.


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‘I’m Black And I’m Proud:’ Students Speak Truth To Power During National Walkouts  was originally published on