New Britain students joined thousands of others across the country in a day of protest against gun violence one month after the firearms murders at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The event occurred as a part of the March 14th National School Walkout organized by the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER organization.
The New Britain school district said that New Britain High School students Rimaz Bashir, Ebaa Mohmed, Haleigh Nemethy and Larissa Tabb, “approached the administration at New Britain High School as they sought to find a way to show their support for the students in Parkland and all others who have been impacted by school violence.”
The event began with a broadcast live-streamed to all NBHS classrooms. In that broadcast, junior Arthur Bell read a poem and Bashir read a letter written by her, Mohmed, Nemethy and Tabb that had been hand delivered to Stoneman Douglas students.
Bashir said that, “The tragedy that occurred on February 14, 2018 is unacceptable, but the lives lost have shed a light on a much larger issue that we face within our society.”
Nelba Marquez-Greene, the mother of a student who was tragically killed at the Sandy Hook school and Director of the Ana Grace Project marched with the New Britain students. “I’m so moved to see the students’ support by marching today and just as impressive is the district’s continuing efforts to provide safety and care for students, staff and parents. New Britain’s focus on safety preparedness, whole child development and positive relationships makes me very proud to stand with them.”
Schools superintendent Nancy Serra said, “Our students understand that their voice is important and that they can make a difference,” adding that, “this entire event was organized by the students and we fully supported their efforts. I am so proud of our students and know that they will continue to speak out against school [violence] and will use their voice to spark change.”
“This isn’t going to be the last step,” said Bashir. “We’re going to have more movements, more protests and a more open conversation.”
Women’s March Youth EMPOWER says that its reason for organizing the walk out campaign is to address gun violence that has affected all people, including, “systemic forms of gun violence,” that disproportionately affect young people in communities of color.
The National School Walkout was organized by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER under the banner hashtag #ENOUGH, with demands for specific federal legislation to be approved by Congress, including,
- Banning Assault Weapons & High Capacity Magazines, Senate bill 2095.
- Expanding Background Checks to All Gun Sales, Senate bill 2009.
- Gun Violence Restraining Order Law, House Resolution 2598 and Senate bill 1212.
- Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, Senate bill 1856 and House Resolution 1556.
Women’s March Youth EMPOWER’s demands also include opposing other policies, including,
- Conceal Carry Reciprocity, House Resolution 38 and Senate bill 446. The group says this legislation would, “would force each state to honor the concealed carry laws of all others,” which it says, “would set back states with some of the safest gun laws like New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island – which also happen to be the six states with the least amount of gun-related deaths.”
- “Any legislation that would aim to fortify our schools with more guns,” including policies under which teachers would be armed with guns.