Following the Parkland shooting in Florida, a group of Bellingham School District students collaborated to form a district wide walkout. After the success of this event, these students advanced with their movement and developed an organization. Students for Action is a student activism group working to create change.
This club is organized by high school students. Although each student holds their own reasoning for joining Students for Action, collectively these individuals hope to use their voice to prevent school shooting catastrophes from occurring. They also seek to eliminate negative energy.
Personal experiences also contribute to this organization. For example, Maggie Davis-Bower, a founder of the club decided to participate in Students for Action and the nation-wide movement for two reasons. “First, as a student, I wanted my peers and I to be able to go to school without having to carry the very real and very heavy fear of losing our lives at the hands of senseless violence,” she says. “Second, as a survivor of a mass shooting a year and a half ago, and after hearing about the shooting in Florida, I couldn’t stand to stay silent about the issue any longer and decided to advocate for school safety in an active way.”
Since the start of the association in February, these students have learned a great deal about the community organizing process, as well as how to use their power for positive change. Not only have they placed themselves in leadership positions to make a difference, but each member is learning a variety of skills that will be beneficial in their future.
The Students for Action group has overcome challenges. Organizing the district-wide walkout within a two-day span taught the students how to get things done under time constraints and high pressure. Also, these individuals have been educated on collaboration and team work. As the group works to accomplish specific tasks, all members contribute their own unique skills and capabilities. This helps the group function as the organization grows. Participating students are learning how to establish professional dialogue with individuals of different perspectives. This helps develop an open mind and teaches them to envision complicated issues from various points of view. Adam Kaufman, another founder of Students for Action says, “I’m learning that everyone has a voice and, if we use our voices collectively instead of mourning individually, we can make change in our communities.”
These students believe it is imperative for action to be taken to protect school communities from horrific acts in the world. Their walkout began as a small group of individuals around the Bellingham School District attempting to draw attention to the cause, but that soon changed. “At the walkout, we were shocked by the overwhelming support in our community that allowed the gathering of 2,000 people at City Hall in the span of two days,” Adam says. Ultimately, the walkout was exceptionally successful and inspired many, including the members themselves, to move forward.
One month after the district wide walkout, 32 people, including all Students for Action members, traveled to Washington DC for the nationwide March for Our Lives protest. Here students heard impactful speeches and received the incredible opportunity to meet with legislative aids at the capitol to discuss the issue of school safety and present ideas for solutions.
This event was lifechanging for the students who attended. “The day of the march was the most memorable day of many of our lives,” Maggie says. “It made us realize that we were by no means alone in our fight, but part of a national movement fueled by strength and resilience of the Parkland students and the young people all over the country who had been impacted by the senseless violence.”
These students hope to educate their peers on the public issue of gun violence and school safety, as well as contribute their ideas and devise solutions. The association would like to improve safety measures at schools and change the way society responds to and views violence. Ultimately these individuals want to prevent any more mass shootings in our country. Students for Action was an ordinary group of high school students in a small town, but they decided to unite and form an organization to make positive change in our world.