UNION, NJ - About 1,000 Union High School students took part in a walk-out Wednesday morning, taking a stand against gun violence one month after the Parkland shooting that killed 17 high school students.
Students stood quietly on the football field during the 17-minute silence in tribute to those Parkland students.
“We are told we can change the world,” said Raquel Costa. “We are told we can do anything we dream. So today we are fulfilling that promise. Today, we are changing the world.”
Chanting, “Enough is Enough. If you’re with me, please stand up” and “What do we want? Change. When do we want it? Now.”, about 600 students left school grounds and marched toward Town Hall. A heavy police presence guided the students up Morris Avenue, keeping them on the sidewalk and safe at intersections.
Once all students, parents and observers gathered in the lower parking lot of Town Hall, students took to the bull horns and spoke to the crowd.
“Shootings have been happening for years,” said one student. “And what has been done. Politicians telling us to pray. We need change.”
“We are one of the most developed countries in the world,” said another student. “I don’t see why -- why are guns still such a problem? Aren’t we smart enough and developed enough that we could find a solution to this?”
“I want everyone to look around,” said student event organizer Mekhi Rivers. “This is a peaceful protest with changes to be made and our voices to be heard. We did this to stand with the rest of the country. I thank you guys for being respectful.”
“Gun violence is a major issue in this country,” said Union Mayor Suzette Cavadas. “We are committed to working with the Board of Education, the police and advocacy groups to make sure that what happened in Parkland, Florida does not happen here in Union.”
“I’m a parent,” continued Cavadas. “I have two kids in public schools. I understand. When you drop your kids off at school that last thing you want to worry about is if they’re going to come home.”