National school walkout encourages students to participate

A National School Walkout has been planned for March 14 by the Women’s March organization.

The walkout, which encourages students to walk out of class for 17 minutes at 10 a.m., is meant to show support and honor the 17 people killed in the Parkland, Fla. shooting and to bring attention to the cause of stricter gun regulations.

More than 16 high schools in the Sacramento area have been identified as schools that will participate in the walkout, according to a list compiled by The Sacramento Bee. Cosumnes River College students and administrators, however, do not seem to be gearing up for the walk out.

“We are aware of it, but to be honest I have not heard any discussion about it,” said Public Information Officer Kristie West, referring to the administration’s views about a potential walk out.

In addition to the walk out, a rally will be held at the State Capitol at 10 a.m. on March 14, according to the Women’s March website.

In interviews with a dozen students, including some members of the Student Senate, there was little interest or knowledge of the walkout movement and no one planned to walk out of class on March 14.

California Community College Chancellor Eloy Oakley signaled that students are welcome to participate however they see fit.

“The California Community Colleges support freedom of expression, plain and simple,” he said in a statement to The Sacramento Bee addressing the walk out.

He added that students’ admission to the community college system would not be affected by their decision to demonstrate, according to The Sacramento Bee.

While students at CRC do not seemed poised to participate in large-scale walkouts, there are many ways in which students can become involved in championing causes they care about.

A workshop was held at CRC titled “The Activist Toolkit,” and was led by Sacramento City Councilman Eric Guerra’s Chief of Staff, Erin Teague, on March 1.

Teague encouraged students to not view activism merely as public demonstrations and rallies, but instead focused on how being an activist starts with becoming an informed voter.

Teague, who spent many years as an activist and campaign worker at the state and federal level, explained to students how they can have their voice heard by writing to their elected officials and following up with phone calls.

“Research which committees deal with the issue you are focusing on, find the members of those committees and contact their office,” Teague said. “As an activist there was nothing better than finding a person to use as a real life example to point to as a reason for why something needs to change.”

The Florida State Senate passed a bill on Monday that would create new restrictions on rifle sales, according to an article by the Associated Press.

This is particularly important because Florida has long been a catalyst for pro gun reform and  the home base for one of the NRA’s most powerful lobbyists, Marion Hammer, according to an article in the March 2018 issue of The New Yorker.

It is yet to be seen if students at CRC will participate in walking out of class next Wednesday, but Teague said that if students are passionate about an issue it important for them to get involved however they see fit.

She added that large demonstrations can show lawmakers that an issue like gun control in the wake of the Parkland shooting is important to people all over the country.