Members of the Students Against Gun Violence club held a walkout to protest gun violence in schools, on April 20. The walkout, which took place on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, began at Tam and continued at the depot in the Mill Valley town square. Approximately 50 students participated.
“I think the bottom line of this event was to talk about how gun violence [affects] all kinds of young people,” freshman Jake Cohen, who helped organize the walkout, said. “When you hear [about] gun violence, you hear [about] school shootings — that’s definitely a big part of it but it’s not the only part of it, and that was important for us to highlight to some degree.”
The students walked along Miller Avenue to the town square, where they formed a group that attracted many Mill Valley locals. Students like Cohen and sophomores Kylie Frame, Hannah Kahn, Ta’ Naejah Reed, and Isabel Williams spoke.
“Today is the 19th anniversary of Columbine and I think today’s here to show that 19 years later, we’re still here, we’re still here, we’re still campaigning to get safety in our schools, and that’s something we shouldn’t be doing, we shouldn’t have to be here almost 20 years after that deadly shooting happened,” Kahn said.
Many of the students involved saw the walkout as progress.
“We’re not giving up, we’re not saying, ‘Oh, only 50 kids [showed up], that’s not enough.’ We’re just going to keep fighting and keep moving forward until these 50 kids make a difference, because marching here, chanting, being at the town center, even if it seems small, this is a really big act for us to do, and we’re going to keep marching out until something changes,” Kahn said.
However, some students who attended were unsatisfied with the turnout. “It’s crazy that people at Tam and [students] in Marin, think that a grade, not even learning, but a grade, is more important than really standing up for something that you believe in and making a difference — the people that say that they can’t leave this one class one day,” junior Sarah Goldman said.
Students Against Gun Violence and other community groups are searching for ways to continue effecting change in the future.
“I think our next step is media. I think getting kids involved, getting kids on the news, getting kids speaking in podcasts, going to events, giving speeches, getting our messages out there,” Cohen said. “We need to create more leaders on this issue, and it doesn’t always have to mean protests, because that’s a big part of it but what’s the next step? We’re not going to stop, and we need as many kids from the Tam community becoming those leaders.”