Roanoke students, community members protest gun violence

More than 100 participate in One Day. One Voice movement

By Jessica Jewell - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - Students across southwest Virginia took part in school walkouts that happened all over the country Wednesday to protest gun violence.

Roanoke Valley Governor's School students walked out of the building Wednesday morning, standing in silence for 17 minutes to honor the victims of the Parkland school shooting.

"This attack felt personal," Patrick Henry High School sophomore Thauncey Wilson said.

Next door at Patrick Henry High School, students walked out of their classrooms.

"Change is going to happen. This cannot happen again and we as a student body are going to stand up for this and hope for change to come," Wilson said.

Meanwhile, in downtown Roanoke, community members came together for a protest of their own.

"We didn't want to divide people apart on gun control issues per say but really a unified message," One Day. One Voice. organizer Dustin Eshelman said.

The One Day. One Voice. movement focused on gun safety, specifically, encouraging parents to lock guns up and keep them away from kids. Many took a pledge, promising to keep their homes safe.

In a dramatic show of solidarity, more than 100 people locked arms in a human chain, stretching from the library all the way to Elmwood Park.

"The locking arms in solidarity is to say that across all political spectrums, we can all stand behind this message," Eshelman said.

Some participants wore shirts or held signs reading "Locked guns. Save kids." Others pulled their children out of school just for the protest.

"I want to feel safe when I send my kids to school and I do for a large part, but I know lots of parents in places where these situations and these tragedies happened thought the same thing," Roanoke mom Lindy Dalton said.

Organizers said they plan on working with the school district to get more families to pledge to keep guns safe from kids in their homes.

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