by Bradley Trout and John Yarbrough
CYPRESS, CA- Cypress College students and faculty joined the National School Walkout today at 10 a.m., with Associated Student President Maria Alvarez leading a moment of silence in memoriam of the 17 victims of the Stoneman Douglass High School shooting last month.
The demonstration was one of thousands of locally organized events across the country, with EMPOWER, the group behind the national walkouts, leading the charge. The organization cites a greater need for attention concerning gun violence and gun law in the United States in response to an increasing rate of gun violence related incidents, according to the organization’s website. “We are living in an age where young people like us do not feel safe in our schools. This issue is personal for all of us, especially for those of us who are survivors of gun violence.”
The Cypress College Walkout started with a short speech by Alvarez in front of 17 seats displaying the pictures and names of the victims of the Stoneman Douglass shooting, expressing the Student Council’s endorsement and support of the event. “[The Associated Students] inspire to help students find their voice and confidence and stay on the path to be engaged citizens,” said Alvarez, “Thank you for being here as we walkout as we work together towards a brighter future and create change that will benefit generations to follow.”
The walkout was further endorsed by a resolution put forth by the Cypress College Academic Senate, stating their support of student and faculty involvement in the walkouts without fear of reprisals or penalties. The Senate asserted that all students and faculty have a right to learn and teach without fear of violence, and reaffirmed Cypress College’s dedication to the “right, well-being, and educational and mental health needs of all students.”
The event was estimated to be attended by over 100 students, according to Associated Student Executive Vice President, Robert Mounce, who was moved by the large number of students who came out in support of the event. Jesus Torres, the Veteran’s Representative for the Inter-Club Council, expressed similar feelings, stating further that the “underlying message [of the event] is we want the government to do something.”
The Academic Senate has also approved a second National School Walkout on April 20, 2018 led by change.org- 19 years after the infamous Columbine High School massacre. Students and faculty are welcomed to participate.