Students hold vigil to stand against gun violenceBy Ivan Saul Cutler, Carolina Peacemaker / April 14, 2023
The trauma of unmitigated gun violence has prompted high school students across the nation to hold vigils and large demonstrations.In Greensboro at Grimsley High School, the outrage manifested in a large-scale, sanctioned demonstration and a smaller vigil to mourn the death of a fellow student.
In the school’s Grove, friends and classmates of slain 17-year-old Ariyonna Fountain remembered her, gathering closely in a vigil within a temporary memorial of flowers and written tributes. Earlier this month, Fountain was shot to death on her porch during an evening family gathering. Police are searching for the assailants who ran off following the shooting.
An hour after the vigil on the Grimsley campus, several hundred students walked out of classrooms to assemble in front of the high school to hear multiple calls of “do something” and admonitions to public officials that outraged young people have the power of ballot box “and we will use it,” said organizers.
A similar walkout occurred at Page High School. Both demonstrations were responses to a request from Students Demand Action, a local unit of Everytown for Gun Safety, a national nonprofit organization which advocates for gun control and against gun violence. Everytown was formed in 2013 due to a merger between Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“Gun violence is making us angry and is no longer an abstract concept. We’re seeing it here. In the past two years, we’ve lost two Grimsley students to gun violence,” said Meredith McKinney, one of the walkout’s organizers.
The student leaders expressed their constant fear of gun violence on campus, saying they hear about gun threats frequently. “Even just recently a couple of people came to school with weapons. Sometimes we hear about it and sometimes we don’t. This could happen silently, and we wouldn’t know our lives were in danger…that there was a gun on campus. We don’t ever want to hear that again,” said Grimsley student Kailyn Wright.