Youth in Action: May-June 2023

June 9, 2023

From the May-June 2023 issue of News & Letters

by Buddy Bell

Some of the thousands of high school students walking out protesting gun violence. Photo: Students Demand Action.

Students at 300 schools in 42 states and D.C. participated in a national walkout against gun violence on April 5. The events were partly a response to the shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., one week earlier. By that time, there had been 39 school shootings in 2023 alone. (In the subsequent two months, there would be another 19.) Marching down a sidewalk in Uvalde, Tex., one student held a sign asking, “When will our lives matter more than your ‘right’?” In Maplewood, Mo., students held a memorial for 15-year-old Alexzandria Bell and teacher Jean Kuczka, who were gunned down in a St. Louis school shooting last fall. High school senior Miles Pahl said: “I hope the people in Jefferson City can hear us, that we have lives, that we matter. We need gun legislation now.” At two high schools in Portage, Mich., where a false “active shooter” report had triggered a lockdown Feb. 7, students returned to class drenched after processing through town in the rain. High school junior Simon Thompson stated: “We’re not done. I think [we continue] to make change by going out, doing more walkouts… contacting your legislators and letting them know that we’re tired of this.”

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The Boston University commencement ceremony on May 21 was filled with boos for the CEO and president of Warner Brothers, a man whose salary over one year exceeds the sum of raises demanded by his 11,000 writers, who will have been on strike for a month as of June 2. In addition to the students inside the university stadium, 200 more protested outside, yelling, “no wages, no pages,” and other chants. TV writer Lauren Daly, who graduated from BU last year, said at the protest: “There are a lot of students [here] looking to go into film and television, and people like Zaslav are fundamentally preventing young writers from establishing themselves.”

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After days of protesting and marching, graduate students in Delhi have succeeded in blocking a 200% tuition hike at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI). PhD student Maryan Mukhtar tweeted on May 24: “We did it! Finally our voices turned into echoes and they will be resonating hard in IARI’s history. Whenever IARI will try to commercialize education, they will remember this day. Education isn’t only for the elites, but for everyone!”

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