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March for our Lives

As I took the I-90 off-ramp, Green Day’s September started on the radio. It had been years since I first heard that song, when it debuted at the end of my college career. Green Day was a staple for my high school and college soundtrack. I remember seeing decals on friends’ backpacks and stickers on binders. Their lyrics always resonated with whatever heart-wrenching high school drama we happened to be going through.

Today was no different.

But very different.

Student Protests

I never had anything to protest about in high school. We were so lucky to be nestled in between the generations that had so much to protest.

In the 1960s, teenagers started the lunch counter sit-ins. These sit-ins would change the national dialogue of segregation. By mid-60s, the anti-war movement began on college campuses in reaction to the Vietnam War. And now, student-led protests include those of Black Lives Matter and March for our Lives. But I grew up in the comfortable 90s. We worried about football rivalries and prom dresses. I’m lucky to have been part of that generation.

But now students are going to school legitimately concerned about their safety. I remember having fire drills and earthquake drills in school. I thought earthquakes and fires must be terribly common if we had to practice at least one drill each month. Now schools practice intruder drills. They practice barricading doors and being quiet in closets. This is the new norm. With lawmakers slow to change things, students have taken the issue into their own hands by setting up walk-outs and protests.

Last Wednesday, a month after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School suffered 17 fatalities, schools around the country participated in walk-outs. I decided to photograph the walk-out at Lewis and Clark High School. As I pulled up to the school, I saw many parents and grandparents huddle in the rain with their signs in support of the students and the walk-out. As Billy Joe’s melancholy voice brought memories of my carefree high school days, the words themselves mirrored the sentiment and tone of the walk-out. I thought of these kids and the burden they have taken on their shoulders. They’ve been asked to grow up a little more, to acknowledge the void adults couldn’t fill and fill it with their own voices. I was and am overwhelmed by their courage and their plight.

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when September ends.

 

Lewis and Clark High School Walk-Out photos

For more information about March for our Lives click here. For copies or reuse of any photos, please contact me.

 

 

 

bus at lewis and clark high school umbrella and school front students walking out of school Enough is Enough sign woman holding sign #enough sign sign held up by protestor teacher watching from window cathy mcmo sign school bus and protesters students holding signs students hugging more