South KC students participate in national walkout

Students from the area’s public high schools participated in National School Walkout Wednesday morning. They hope to make a difference.

Center students walkout
Over 200 Center High School students participated in a student-led walk out to protest gun violence. Photo by Kathy Feist

Students in the area walk out to protest gun violence

By Kathy Feist

“We’re here to talk about gun violence and what gun violence as a whole does to our society,”  Julian “Kiwi” Kiwinda announced to 200 or more Center High School students gathered at the high school’s track field to protest gun violence. Students from Center and thousands of other high schools across the country walked out of their classrooms at 10 am Wednesday as part of the National School Walkout.

Students from Ruskin High School and Grandview High School also participated. Private schools in the area were in the midst of Spring Break and did not participate.

Grandview students
Students at Grandview High School hold signs, some honoring those killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Photo from Grandview C-4 School District Twitter. 

The protest was the outcome of the massacre at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Students there have become vocal against the lax gun laws and attitude held by adults and have taken a stance against gun legislation.

Kiwinda, along with Jawon Jones and Rhon’y Crawford organized the rally.  The three belong to the school’s political science club. They said they have been encouraging older students to register to vote in order to create change. They were also particularly proud of the student body’s ability to quickly call out those who make threats through social media. “Center has always taken the steps necessary,” said Jones. “We trust the district and staff.”

Kiwinda says they are already planning for the April 20 National School Walkout, which memorializes the 1999 Columbine High School shootings.

All three students gave eloquent speeches; however, The Telegraph was able to record one, Kiwinda’s, which we share below:

There are so many people who are stuck with which political party they are, what they want to believe, what they want to think, what they want to hear,” Kiwinda  spoke into the loud speaker. “That they don’t actually pay attention to what is going on.” 

“So many adults out there, and in the media, believe that this generation of Millennials are so tied up to their phones, so tied up in their plans, so tied up behind their TV and phone screens, that we’re not doing anything meaningful.

“But today we are proof that they are wrong.” 

“We are doing something. We are turning out here protesting. We are talking about the real reason that affects every last one of us: from violence across the country, violence across the world, to gun violence in our own streets.

 “Over 28 people have been gunned down in Kansas City this year. This is our own community. This is not a Florida issue. This is not a Detroit issue. This is our issue. 

“So many people are willing to fight for the right for children to live, which isn’t something these people should have to fight for.

“We will stand up and fight for what really matters. This is our lives and not a policy!”






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