It’s not often that students are encouraged to drop their pencils, close up their laptops and walk out of class. This Friday at 10 a.m. on Eisenhower Lawn there will be a campus-wide walkout to encourage solidarity in the wake of many shootings that have devastated the nation.
A group of students, lead by Toby Doyle and Sam Rockhill, organized the event and have gained the support of executive clubs on campus such as SAB, SGA, Multicultural Council, Minds Matter and Human Rights Awareness.
Doyle says the purpose is “to raise awareness of a growing human rights issue and to demonstrate to the outside community that Messiah College and by extension the Christian Church cares about survivors, victims and all others affected by gun violence. It is to not stand by passively and to actively engage in the practice of Shalom and Reconciliation.”
The timing of this walkout is very intentional as well. Friday is the anniversary of the Columbine shooting and 10 a.m. is when the shooting in Parkland happened. The campus-wide walkout is just one of many happening nationwide on Friday.
Speakers at the walkout will include Jeanette Ames, Kim Phipps, Jamie-Claire Chau, Sarah Fe Harris, David and Brian Freda, Drew Hart, Kevin Villegas, Lynn Maynard, Doyle and Rockhill.
Those involved in the planning remind students that the walkout is about unity, not politics. “We hope to demonstrate that this is not a politically affiliated event,” Doyle said.
The hope for the event is to stand up for Messiah’s beliefs on pacifism. “We hope to demonstrate our commitment to Brethren in Christ’s legacy of pacifism and to demonstrate a unified front on behalf of Messiah students and faculty,” Doyle said. “By taking a public stance on gun violence, Messiah College will actually by living up to its Christian and Brethren in Christ Legacy.”
SGA clarified that professors and other staff were made aware of this event. Students are encouraged to speak to their professors if they have class during the time of the walkout, but excused absences are not guaranteed.