Brooklyn Law School students take part in student walkout for gun control
On the one month anniversary of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, students from Brooklyn Law School joined a crowd of approximately 1,000 students who converged on the steps of Borough Hall on Wednesday morning as part of the National Student Walkout to protest gun violence.
“Law school students often skip class, but they don’t often skip class for a purpose like this,” proclaimed BLS Dean Nicholas Allard, who joined a group of students at 10:00 a.m. as students of all ages protested gun violence. “I’m just in awe of these students around the country and here in Brooklyn. It’s after the winter of our discontent, we’ve got a new spring and you can feel it.”
Chanting phrases like, “Enough is enough,” and, “No more guns,” students from all over Brooklyn joined the more than 3,100 walkouts that were planned across the country. The BLS group at Borough Hall was hardly the largest there, but students there represented 14 different student organizations.
“This has been a continuum from the #MeToo movement, from Black Lives Matter and now Parkland Strong,” Allard said. “These young people are going to make a much better future for us. I hope a lot of these motivated students become lawyers because, after all, what we’re talking about are the laws of our land and if you want to really make an impact than become a lawyer. That’s why I’m proud that our law students are out here in such numbers.”
This wasn’t a sanctioned law school event. Oren Kadosh, a first-year law student, was one of the organizers who built a coalition of support among the following organizations: The Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest, BLS Democrats, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) at BLS National Security Law Society, Labor & Employment Law Association, National Lawyers Guild, South Asian Law Students Association, Latin American Law Students Association, Black Law Students Association, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Disability Advocacy Law Students Association, Art Law Association, Brooklyn Entertainment & Sports Law Society and the International Law Society.
“As future legal professionals, workers around policy standing with young people, students, fellow students to end gun violence one and for all, to end public mass shootings and the terror surrounding it,” Kadosh said. “We are here to make a real push and it’s being led by young people and students on the ground. It’s incredibly organic and grass-roots.”
Even though most of the students involved are in grade school or undergraduates, the law school students explained that they felt compelled to action just by watching the younger generation step up the way that it has.
“We had just been inspired by the actions of children, not just high schoolers, but elementary school kids leading this movement that is getting so much traction,” BLS student Justine Medina said. “Even though they have class, students are coming out and it’s good to see us standing together in solidarity.”
One student, Héctor A. Meléndez-Franco, who recently spent his spring break doing pro bono work in Puerto Rico, addressed the crowd and talked about the importance lawyers can have on effecting change.
“As current law students, and future lawyers and policy workers, we the students of Brooklyn Law School felt it is important to stand with you in the fight to end public mass shootings and put an end to gun violence,” said Meléndez-Franco.
The rally was scheduled to last at least 17 minutes to honor each of the 17 people killed in the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting, but it ended up lasting nearly two hours.
“We are calling on everyone across America who thinks that this needs to change because we cannot keep living like this,” said 16-year-old Lucy Anderson. “The government has failed us and now kids across the country are afraid to go to school. America promises freedom to all so how can you justify weapons that kill and rip apart people’s lives? Now we are taking this into our own hands.”
Groups of students each took turns speaking and they were joined by politicians including Public Advocate Letitia James, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Comptroller Scott Stringer.
“Let’s face it, the adults are not doing their jobs,” Stringer said. “Donald trump will never do his job. Republicans in Congress will never do their job. The NRA is a terrorist organization.”
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