Hawai‘i Governor, US Senator Join Student-Led Walkout
Governor David Ige today joined students at his alma mater, Pearl City High School, this morning to support their walkout initiative to honor each of the 17 students and teachers who lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
At an assembly, the governor applauded the students for their leadership in planning and implementing the event and for addressing their concerns about school safety and gun violence. He also spoke about the common sense and reasonable steps Hawaiʻi has already taken to reduce incidents of gun violence.
“I’m proud of our students who have raised their voices. They can and will make a difference in increasing school safety and preventing gun violence,” said Gov. Ige.
Senator Mazie K. Hirono also joined thousands of students, including 22 from Kauaʻi High School, at the US Capitol for the National School Walkout Rally to call for sensible gun safety legislation and an end to gun violence.
“So many American students, led by the brave, articulate survivors of Parkland, are standing up, sharing their stories and calling for change,” Senator Hirono said. “I’m inspired by their determination and will continue to fight alongside them as we work to pass sensible gun safety legislation and an end to gun violence.”
Earlier today, Senator Hirono questioned government witnesses about the importance of closing loopholes in the National Instant Criminal Background Check system and the need to repeal the Dickey Amendment – which effectively prevents the Centers for Disease Control from studying the effects and causes of gun violence.
Also today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke in support of a bill that would implement school violence prevention recommendations developed after the Sandy Hook shooting, and increase coordination between schools and local law enforcement across the nation.
Wednesday’s walkout was one of two being promoted on social media. The other is on April 20th at 10 a.m., which falls on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado.
There’s also a student-led March and “Concert for Our Lives” planned for March 24th on Maui, which has drawn participation from a star-studded line-up of talent on Maui including Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Willie K, Landon McNamara and Lily Meola. The movement includes similar gatherings across the country, as organizers demand legislation to end gun violence in schools.
Building off of the momentum of today’s statewide, student-led walkout, the coalition of student leaders and community organizers for the #NeverAgainHI Campaign to End Gun Violence will hold a press conference tomorrow, March 15, at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol.
On Saturday, March 24, at 10 a.m., across the nation, the community will gather for A March For Our Lives. In Honolulu, marchers will raise awareness for state legislation to ban bump stocks and other rate-of-fire accelerator modifications, demand that Congress pass federal gun reform and to call for better funding of special education programs and more focus on reducing instances of bullying at our public schools. The Maui version of that event is being held at the Great Lawn of the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College Campus prior to the Concert for Our Lives event across the street at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.