We felt overwhelming pride and a deep well of sadness as our island children filed out of their classrooms on March 14, holding signs like “Never Again,” “Every Child Counts” and “Small Island, Loud Voices” and lighting long, white candles. It was a deeply moving day that gave us hope during a dark time.
Thousands of middle and high schoolers across the country paid tribute to the lives lost in school shootings, most recently at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. The Orcas public school event was led by junior Henry Moe and senior Haley Moss, who read the names of the 17 people who died at Stoneman.
The students stood firm in the belief that they and staff have the “right to teach and learn without the fear of being gunned down in the classroom.” They were joined by dozens of community members and parents who watched with tears in their eyes.
Haley told the crowd, “No matter how old you are, you have the power to make a change.”
Levi Moss read the names of 200 schools and universities that have experienced gun violence since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. It took him more than seven minutes to get through the list.
Haley hoped “We Will Remember” would ring in the ears of students and adults long after the walkout. Margot Van Gelder read a poem written by Anna Bosking that we would like to share here.
Thoughts and prayers
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” say the living to the dead
But no one acts to prevent those souls from laying down their head
“I can’t live without my precious gun! It brings me too much joy!”
They say while a crying mother buries her one and only boy
“Our thought and prayers are with you, they say while no action is ever done
What can a thought or prayer do to stop the consequences of a gun?
Paris, Orlando, Sandy Hook too
It all seems so far away until the bullet is coming to you
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” they type into the keyboard on their phone
While another corpse is buried beside a dark, grey tombstone
Do the pros outweigh the cons when buying that brand new rifle?
While thousands gather to cry around the suddenly weepy Eiffle
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” they proclaim as they did the previous week
But no one cares, no one tries to achieve the peace people seek
Is a gun really worth all the deaths and tears?
It strikes your family, your friends, your teachers, your peers
Take your thought and take your prayer to do something for this Earth
And think about what that gun is really, truly worth