Memphis students join national protest against gun violence

More students participating in the protest (Source: WMC Action News 5)
More students participating in the protest (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Students at University of Memphis walked out of class Wednesday in support of a nationwide protest against gun violence.

The walkout was part of a large coordinated response to February's massacre of 17 people at Florida's Majory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Memphis students took part in one of nearly 3,000 protests across the country.

Chanting for change, dozens of U of M students took a stand, hoping their voices would spark action.

The chanting was quickly matched with 17 minutes of silence throughout the campus for those 17 who lost their lives in Parkland, Florida.

"Honestly, it took everything in me not to cry," Alexandria Broadnax with Progressive Student Alliance said.

Organizers with U of M's Progressive Student Alliance shared their heartache and frustration with current gun laws.

"We should feel like we have peace in our homes and in our schools," one person said.

The students even stopped in front of the FedEx Institute of Technology, which is located at the Fogelman College of Business and Economics, upset about the Memphis-based company's decision not to cut ties with the National Rifle Association.

"You can say one thing and be like, 'Oh we're against these shootings--we're against gun violence--but when you're still giving discounts to the NRA, that's like the complete opposite," Broadnax said.

At times it got heated with people's differing opinions about gun control

"They're coming after my guns...yes because they have been," one person said.

But for many like freshman Rebecca Irby, they were just excited to be a part of a movement.

"I'm voicing my opinion which I don't really do but with this one, I think it matters so much that you need every bit of help," Irby said.

Most high school students in Shelby County and DeSoto County did not participate in the protests because their schools were not in session. Those school districts are currently on Spring Break.

U of M students said they'll continue to stand in solidarity with the students in Parkland.

They'll march again for stricter gun control laws on March 24 for the nationwide March for Our Lives event.

WMC5 also reached out to FedEx for comments on Wednesday's march, but the company has not issued a comment.

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