This is a guest blog by my 13-year old grandson Gideon. He is in eighth grade in Brooklyn, New York at Brooklyn Prospect. His school asked students who will participate in the March 14th walkout protesting against gun violence and to honor the students and staff murdered at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida to write a brief essay explaining their reason for joining the walkout. This is his essay.
I woke up on the morning after the shooting and I went into the kitchen half asleep. My mom greeted me and said good morning. I was sitting in a tall wooden chair by the kitchen table staring at wall for about five minutes when my mom made a sound that I knew meant she was shocked. She looked up at me and said, “I don’t really want to show you this.”
I looked over her shoulder and on her phone a loop of the snapchat video of the shooter shooting inside the school flashed over and over again. I walked away saying nothing. I knew then I felt disturbed. I thought about that video for the rest of the day until my friend came over to my house to hang out. As he was playing Fortnite, I was on my phone checking my Instagram feed and passed a compilation of videos based on the shooting. I watched it. I knew I shouldn’t but I did. I showed it to him. He looked up at me as if I just smashed the TV with a bat. “That's the shooting,” I told him.
I couldn’t go to sleep that night.
A few days later, my grandfather came to my apartment. I looked at his sweatshirt and it had the Eagles of Stoneman Douglas written all over it. I realized all of a sudden that it was from the school, the school where the tragedy happened. I asked him how he got it and he told me that he ordered it online. I asked him if I could bring it to school and he said yes.
The next few days went by with the events in Florida all in my head. This week I brought the sweatshirt to school and I showed it to my friends and teachers. Most of them liked the idea, but I was interested in why some people didn't really feel comfortable with it. I was trying to protest in a silent way. I understood that it brought back a tragic time.
I didn’t wear the sweatshirt for the rest of the day. I promised myself that I would only wear it when we walked out. I want to protest, but I have to think about others’ feelings.
That's why we have this walkout, to think about how others feel around us and how we want to approach this matter. That is why I will walkout of school at 10:00 AM for 17 minutes on the 14th of March.