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Students and legislators take part in walkout at State Capitol

People+stand+in+silence+on+the+steps+of+the+Capitol+during+National+School+Walkout.
People stand in silence on the steps of the Capitol during National School Walkout.

People stand in silence on the steps of the Capitol during National School Walkout.

Kainoa Nunez

Kainoa Nunez

People stand in silence on the steps of the Capitol during National School Walkout.

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Nearly 300 people including members of the California State Legislature, their staff and citizens young and old stood on the steps and outside the north side of the Capitol Building in silence for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

The walkout, meant to honor those killed in Parkland, Florida and to bring attention to the cause of gun control, coincided with student walkouts and protests all over the Sacramento area and the country.

“Our purpose was to stand in solidarity with all those students who were walking out of schools today as well as the students in Parkland,” said State Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), who organized the walkout of the legislature. “If you think that one can’t stand up to the NRA, you can.”

Kainoa Nunez
Students joined members of the State Legislature for 17 minutes of silence.

Unexpectedly, a group of more than 20 students, some carrying signs saying “vote” and “schools not prisons” joined the legislative members and staff on the steps.

“We had a very good turnout,” Bloom said. “We weren’t expecting those students with the signs to show up and join us.”

A few blocks away at 555 Capitol Mall, the Women’s March of Sacramento held a rally outside the NRA’s Sacramento headquarters.

The Co-chair of the event Annie Adams said that they had a turnout of around 1,000 people, including students from schools in San Francisco and Oakland. Many of the participants wore gold T-shirts with “Enough” written across the front.

The event was highlighted with a speech from Jen Siebel Newsom, founder and CEO of The Representation Project and the wife of Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom .

She spoke to the power of students all over the country speaking out and pushing politicians to listen.

“Together you have taken on the NRA and turned the national dialogue around,” Newsom said. “You have shown true courage and you have shown what leadership looks like.”

Mia Davis, 17, a senior at The Met High School in Sacramento, rode her bike to be part of the event. She witnessed both the walkout of the legislature and the rally down the street.

“Rallying is important, that’s a fact, and taking action is a first step to participate in a protest. Our education is important,” Davis said, referring to the knowledge gained at the rally.

She continued to highlight education and knowledge as the keys for changes to be made.

“People know very little about gun control, but the value is optional to educate yourself, so education is the first step to change,” Davis said.

Adams said that after the rally they had planned a Youth Activism Lobby Day event, where high school students could learn more about how to organize and have their voices heard.

Approximately 70 people on campus at CRC also participated in the National Walkout, grouping together on the quad for 17 minutes.

“I wanted to show my support for the victims and be part of the community and everything they were doing,” said 23-year-old RTVF major Jazmin Balez.

The walk-outs on Wednesday may only be the beginning. A march is scheduled for March 24 in Washington D.C. and is planned by the group, March For Our Lives, which was started by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and is supported by the gun reform advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, according to Vox.

A “sibling march” will be held on the same day at 12 p.m. at 1315 10th Street near the Capitol, according to the March For Our Lives Website.

In response to the walkouts on Wednesday, March For Our Lives continued to call for action and activism.

“Our voices need to echo into the future if our friends, our siblings, and our bodies are to be safe. Then it will be enough,” read a statement on their website.

Connection reporters Kainoa Nunez and Summer Lomendehe contributed to this story

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Students and legislators take part in walkout at State Capitol