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Houston Students Participate In Multitudinous Walkout To Demand Stricter Gun Laws

Organizers say the event went “smoothly” and note the speakers were “inspirational”

Houston students demanded Friday that politicians enact stricter gun laws in the United States as they participated in a multitudinous walkout that culminated in a rally at City Hall.

According to Elena Margolin, publicity coordinator for the walkout, roughly 2,000 people may have gathered at City Hall, while a spokesman for the Houston Police Department said they didn’t have an estimate.

On Thursday, the day before the walkout, Margolin told Houston Public Media that about 1,200 people had submitted RSVP forms to the organizers, who anticipated students from ten high schools, including two private institutions –Emery Weiner High School and St. John’s High School— would participate.

The other eight high schools are: Bellaire High School; Carnegie High School; Chavez High School; Energy High School; HAIS; High School for Performing and Visual Arts; Lamar High School; and Northside High School.

The walkout was held on April 20 to make it coincide with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine mass shooting.

Proposed measures

Margolin detailed that some of the measures they are proposing are establishing mandatory waiting periods for purchasing firearms, as well as raising the age limit to purchase rifles to 21 years of age and banning “dangerous gun modifications” such as so-called bump stocks.

Margolin, who is a senior at Houston’s High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), said the walkout went “smoothly.” “I was really expecting some sort of problem to come up, like a speaker was out of hand, but, actually, it went so well.”

 

HOUSTON YOUTH at City Hall!

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“Everyone was so into it,” the organizer emphasized and added that “all the students came with such energy and there were so many different chants going on, the speakers were amazing and all so inspirational.”

Margolin, who said she saw “a couple of people” that she categorized as “counter protesters”, noted one of the highlights of the gathering at City Hall happened when Jacob Castillo, one of her peers at HSPVA, spoke to the crowd and said some politicians are trying to “bury” the students who are participating in the walkouts, but they don’t realize the students are “seeds” and, therefore, the movement will go on.

The organizer added that Houston Council Member and Mayor Pro-Tem Ellen Cohen –as well as Texas State Representative Gene Wu and Zeph Capo, vice president of the American Federation of Teachers— participated in the rally.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also addressed the crowd and, according to Margolin, praised the energy the students are showing.

The Parkland factor

The walkout was also happening in the context of several other walkouts that have taken place recently after another mass shooting happened on February 14 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland (Florida).

As for the future of the student movement in Houston, Margolin detailed that one of the “initial ideas” is creating a non-profit organization “to keep this going.”

“We’re going to keep raising money and keep holding some events that may or may not be other walkouts,” added the organizer, who also commented they will help students who are eligible to register as voters.

Additionally, students from other schools in the Greater Houston area also organized in-campus walkouts:

 

MORE: Houston-Area Students Express Concerns With Walkouts

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Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

General Assignment Reporter

Alvaro 'Al' Ortiz is originally from Spain. He worked for several years in his home country and gained experience in all varieties of journalism, from wire services to print, as well as broadcast news and digital reporting. In 2001, Al came to the United States to pursue a Master's degree...

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