Arcata High School students took part in a nationwide student walkout in protest of gun violence.
The walkout comes in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman-Douglas school shooting, which took 17 lives. Student voices have taken a lead role in asking politicians to restrict the sale of assault rifles, strengthen background checks, ban so-called 'bump stocks', and limit the number of bullets in weaponry magazines.
"After Columbine, everybody thought 'this will never happen again,'" said organizer Naz Dickerson. "Unfortunately, I think there will be more shootings."
Dickerson, a sophomore at Arcata High School along with Skaidra Pulley, also a sophomore and freshman Maddie Lankarani stood at the center of the Arcata Plaza after leading close to 300 students from campus in the walkout.
A 17-minute moment of silence was held as the names of the Florida school shooting victims were read aloud. Pulley said she had not done homework for two days because she was compiling a 6-page list of people killed by "a semi-automatic weapon,"
"Obviously walking from our high school, to the Arcata Plaza, didn't change any gun laws, didn't provide more mental health services for schools, didn't make those tangible changes. But by students across the nation inciting this movement and voicing their opinions for what they believe in, it encourages change. It's really a domino effect and it starts with us," Dickerson said.
Students in the crowd showed solidarity and wrote "who's next" on their palms to signify that a shooting could occur at any time. Sophomore Noah Robinson said there was no reason to have a semi-automatic weapon in any case even.
"Nobody needs to be able to lose like 30 rounds in 30 seconds. That's not a necessity for hunting, that's not a necessity for sport's shooting. The only reason those guns were made is to kill," Robinson said. "For guns its one background check. For cars, you have to go through multiple tests, a year of practice and you have to be a certain age. For guns you have to be a certain age, go in, do a background check and then they hand you a firearm that can kill people."
Robinson noted that he and his peers were missing most of their classes on Wednesday.
"We've missed most of third period, that's technically a cut, but I'd like to see them try and give 300 students detention," he said.
Of the three organizers, Lankarani is attending the national March for Our Lives protest in Washington D.C. along with other students from McKinleyville High School.
"A lot of people said we aren't going to make a change here in Humboldt, but our message was spread even though a lot of kids called it stupid," Lankarani said. "A national movement is happening and there's going to be change. It's bound to happen. It's just that, we have hope now."
Other schools in Humboldt County also staged walkouts including Eureka High School, Fortuna Union High School and Northcoast Preparatory Academy. A local March For Our Lives event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 24th at noon.
A smaller group of students remained at the Plaza, writing letters to politicians until the end of school.