Two DC area students are speaking out about gun violence on President’s Day with a planned demonstration at the White House.
Whitney Bowen and Eleanor Nuechterlein, both juniors at a DC area high school, are planning a “lie-in” on Monday, February 19, through the organization they created: Teens For Gun Reform, which they formed after hearing about the Florida school shooting.
Both students say the shooting, where a former student shot and killed 17 people in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR-15-style automatic rifle, affected them.
“You never think it’s going to be your school, or your family, or your friends, except last week there were a dozen students that went to school for the last time,” said Bowen.
Originally planning on having 17 students lie on the ground in front of the White House –one for each person killed in the Florida school shooting – Nuechterlein and Bowen now say they have a couple hundred people attending. They themselves attended with over 60 friends from school.
The laid in front of the White House for a total of three minutes to symbolize how quickly the shooter was able to get an assault rifle.
Their goal? To send a message about gun violence.
“We want to send a message to politicians, tell them that they need to do something about it, and it’s their responsibility, because they’re the voice of the people and we’re the people,” Nuechterlein said in an interview with WUSA9 Sunday.
And, according to the students, the message has already been received by one politician through “the power of social media.” Local Congressman Don Beyer, who represents Virginia’s 8th District and has advocated for gun reform, attended the protest.
“There are scared kids sitting in classrooms every day, that don’t need to be scared, because politicians have the power to change things,” said Bowen.
Bowen and Nuechterlein aren’t the only students to organize protests around gun violence. Survivors of the Parkland shooting have announced a “March for Our Lives” demonstration on March 24. Several other demonstrations nationwide are also being planned.
The Protest for Gun Reform began at noon on Monday, February 19, on the north side of the White House. Over 500 people have said they were interested in the event on Facebook.