A group calling itself "Team Millennial" is organizing a city-wide walkout for local schools on March 23, advocating common-sense gun legislation following the deadly school shooting in Florida on Valentine's Day.
Team Millennial is a breakout group representing the Southwest Missouri branch of the National Organization for Women (SWMO NOW).
SGF Walkout for Our Lives is not connected with the March for Our Lives rally occurring in downtown Springfield on Saturday, March 24, although community members are encouraged to attend.
Team Millennial Director Hannah Brashers says the walkout is proposed from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at several high schools and universities across Springfield including Kickapoo High School, Central High School, Missouri State University, and Drury University. Student ambassadors at each school have been deputized to independently coordinate their own walkouts with the help of Team Millennial action kits.
Stephen Hall, the communication director for Springfield Public Schools, says there are several dates floating around for walkouts and marches. He says these are not being discouraged, but the schools would like to stand with one voice on the same day. Hall says students will not be disciplined for taking part.
"One date in April and two in March that we are looking at. We're going to be visiting with our building leaders, our teachers, as well as our student leaders to find out which date and time makes the most sense and is most inclusive for the greatest number of people. That's the date we will focus on," said Hall.
“I’ve been getting a lot of positive messages and support from students at Kickapoo,” says Grace Laflen, the student ambassador at Kickapoo High School. “I hope that, if nothing else, we inspire students that live in communities like ours to stand up and help keep up the momentum of this movement.”
After the walkout, students will be encouraged to write letters to Missouri legislators; upperclassmen will also be encouraged to register to vote with voter registration forms provided by Team Millennial.
Event organizers hope that the walkout is a catalyst for bipartisan common sense gun legislation—tighter background checks and reduced access to automatic weapons, for example.
“As a student and an activist, I am done standing on the sidelines as politicians continue to value partisanship and money over the lives of America’s youth,” says Hannah Brashers, the director of Team Millennial. “I march on March 23 to implore our legislators to enact common sense gun legislation now. Springfield’s youth are united, and our voices will not be silenced.”