(NEW YORK) — Students across the country are set to come together again today to rally against school gun violence — an event the teenage organizers hope will empower young people to continue their momentum in a push for common-sense gun reform.
Friday’s National School Walkout coincides with the anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, where two students opened fire in 1999, killing 12 of their fellow students and a teacher.
More than 2,000 walkout events are scheduled throughout the country, with at least one in every state and several globally, according to organizers, who are students at Ridgefield High School in Connecticut.
The walkouts begin at 10 a.m. in each local time zone with 13 seconds of silence to honor the 13 people killed at Columbine High School.
But this event differs in one major way from last month’s nationwide school walkout, which was held on March 14, one month after the shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The March 14 walkout took place for 17 minutes to mark the 17 lives lost. After that time, many students returned to class.
But today’s walkout lasts until the end of the school day.
“This is a problem that needs to be addressed longer than 17 minutes,” student organizer Lane Murdock, 16, explained to ABC News. “As a student who can’t vote, you don’t have a lot of power. But what you have that’s powerful is your voice, your thoughts, but also your attendance. And leaving for longer than 17 minutes, leaving and breaking up that schedule that all American students have every day is how you get people to pay attention.”
Lane and her classmates hope this walkout will continue the momentum in the youth-led fight for common sense gun reform, like bump stock bans and universal background checks. They also want the event to empower students across the country and increase the turnout of young voters at the November midterm elections.
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