One week ago, my school, The Emery Weiner School of Houston, participated in an organized memorial for the 17 who died in Parkland; a memorial which I actively participated in and spoke at. Videos and clips of our ceremony have gone viral in our local Houston community.
Our memorial purposefully coincided with National Walkout Day, but our service was not intended to be political (maybe it should have been, but it was not). It was specifically stated at the beginning of the service that the purpose of the event was not a political one. The media has represented our memorial service as a political action, as a call for gun control; while many students may desire the implementation of further restrictions on automatic rifles, the school itself, the student body, was speaking out to memorialize the dead students. However, comments from administration have further confused our intentions; last Friday (the 16th) an administrator called our memorial service a "rally" during the high school assembly, which is an inherently political word, while also stating that the intent of the service was not to push any political agenda or cover any political topic.
Though confused on intent, perhaps, our unity as a student body is clear- the public comments on the media coverage ranged from calling us "tide pod eaters" to "sheep" with a plethora of cruelty in between; the student body responded to almost every comment with the utmost respect and diligence, making sure that we were seen as the united community that we truly are. I was personally amazed at the responses of my peers; at the justice they were and are intent on pursuing.
I don’t think it was right for the student body to have been unaware that they were coming to film us. I don’t think the media understood the gravity with which we, as students, feel this situation needs to be treated. But what I do think is that this media coverage will help keep National Walkout Day in the news; help keep issues of gun control and gun safety in the news; help keep the conversation going. And that’s ultimately the bigger picture. So, I am proud to have spoken at Emery/Weiner’s memorial service today; I am proud to stand alongside my fellow students to incite change; I am proud of us.
Here are the links to the media coverage of our memorial service: