Students across the nation walked out of their classes Friday to rally against school gun violence—an event the teenage organizers hope will empower young people to continue their momentum in a push for gun reform.
ABC News reports that the National School Walkout coincides with the 19th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Jefferson City, Colorado, where two students opened fire and killed 12 classmates and one teacher.
More than 2,000 walkout events are scheduled from coast to coast—at least one in every state and several globally, according to organizers.
The walkouts began at 10 a.m. in each local time zone.
"As a student who can't vote, you don't have a lot of power.," says organizer Lane Murdock, 16, a student at Ridgefield High School in Connecticut. "But what you have that's powerful is your voice, your thoughts, but also your attendance."
Murdock and her classmates hope this walkout will continue the momentum in the youth-led fight for gun reform, such as bump stock bans and universal background checks. They also want the event to empower students and increase the turnout of young voters at the November midterm elections.
The walkouts are the latest in a wave of youth activism that has emerged after the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Tens of thousands of students left class on March 14 to protest gun violence in what is believed to be the largest youth protest since at least the Vietnam War. Days later, hundreds of thousands of teens and their backers rallied across the United States as part of the March For Our Lives event, which called for tougher laws on guns and ammunition.