A Message About Parkland...
FROM YOUR NATIONAL EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS:
Our hearts are broken for the Parkland community and their strength through this tragedy keeps us all on stable ground. In light of their tragedy, our National Executive Board has the following statement.
STUDENTS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN POLITICAL PARTY LINES
NEVER LET YOUR VOICE BE SILENCED!
We believe in youth leadership, voice, empowerment, and strength. We support our current members in social media campaigns, legislative processes, and peaceful civil actions. We support student safety. We are pro-youth. We believe we live in an American society wherein you can have both gun rights and safe schools. We believe that effective solutions to civil issues are attained by listening to diverse perspectives from collective voices. No single voice can offer a comprehensive solution to such multifaceted problems.
We ask that the members, alumni, and advisors enter the conversation on safe schools with grace and strength. Education is important to you and your opinion matters. Please be part of the conversation on social media by adding your voice to these hashtags: #armuswith #armmewith #enough #msdstrong #neveragain #neveragainmsd. Please add #sigmaalphasigma so we can boost your posts on our own accounts.
Please contact your legislators to express your opinions on safe schools. This link (https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials) will connect you with a website to help you find the contact information for your political leaders. We believe in respecting the legislative process by being part of the legislative process. If you are old enough to vote and are not registered to vote, this link (https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote) will help you become a registered voter. These links (https://www.reuters.com and https://www.factcheck.org) can help you become an INFORMED voter.
Peaceful civil action is at the heart of the American democracy. We support the participation in peaceful civil action especially when other outlets of the political process have silenced minority voices. Youth in America are systemically silenced and disenfranchised yet the decisions of the political machine often affect American Youth longer and more dramatically than other constituent groups. We believe this must change and will only change through Youth participation in civil action. We strongly believe that civil action must be: SAFE, PEACEFUL, PLANNED, ORGANIZED, AND COMMUNICATED. IT IS IMPORTANT TO SHOW THAT STUDENTS ARE ORGANIZING TO HAVE A SAFE EDUCATION—NOT JUST WALKING OUT OF CLASS. While we know that local schools may be hosting their own demonstrations and political actions, as an organization, we are officially supporting the following two demonstrations.
March 14th WALKOUT—Planned by The Women’s March Youth EMPOWER group. At 10 am in every time zone, organizers are encouraging teachers, students, administrators, parents, and allies to walk out for 17 minutes (Sigma Alpha Sigma, Inc suggests spending that 17 minutes in SILENCE—one minute for every person killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School). “Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school.” https://www.womensmarch.com/enough/
April 20th WALKOUT—The plan calls for high school students to walkout on April 20th, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting wearing orange and protesting online and in your communities. No time has been specified yet. The plans are currently being housed on Twitter along with a Change.org petition page that has over 166,000 signatures. https://www.change.org/p/u-s-senate-national-high-school-walk-out-for-anti-gun-violence
Whatever the student members of your local Sigma chapter are wanting to do, our National Office asks you to do the following things prior to your civil action:
1.) Communicate with your school administration. This is not necessarily to gain “permission” for your actions, but rather to plan an ORGANIZED and SAFE event at your school.
2.) Collaborate with other school organizations so that you have an event that reflects the multitude of voices and opinions on your campus and that your event is SUCCESSFUL in generating the “strength in numbers” of a COLLECTIVE voice.
3.) Prepare for media coverage. Decide who spokespersons will be for your action and make sure they are prepared to speak to the media. Do not let the message of your collective voice become muddied by unprepared speakers. The world will be watching. Work with adults in your lives to deliver a strong message that can help bring about change.
We hope that our alumni members currently on university campuses will participate in similar events. If your campus is not planning an event, we hope you will be involved in the planning of an event. If our National Office can assist you in that work, please contact us.
We understand that our alumni currently in the workforce may not be able to participate in these events, but we hope that you participate in the social media protests and that you express your opinions to your legislators.
We know that current Florida law prohibits teacher walkouts. We want our teachers and advisors to be able to serve our students for as long as possible. We know that teachers stand in solidarity with our students but may be prohibited by law from leaving their classrooms as their students walkout. We ask that our teachers and advisors communicate with their schools’ administration and their local union leadership to determine the safest and most legal course of action regarding these student protests.
If you have further questions, please contact our National office via email at National@sigmaalphasigma.org.