03.26.2018

Thousands of students staged a walkout and marched across the U.S. What's next?

Thousands of students staged a walkout and marched across the U.S. What's next? (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)

They walked out of classes. They rallied in streets across the nation for the March for Our Lives in powerful ways. They have the attention of millions. Now what?

The student-led movement forged in Parkland, Fla., after the high school shooting that took 17 lives is remarkable, organized and fierce — but not rare. Endless lists of groups have protested, marched, rallied, cried and pleaded for changes, whether it has been for gun laws, immigration, women’s reproductive rights or climate change.

Now the question is whether these young people who call themselves “the mass-shooting generation” will fade into the background of the debate over gun control or be the leading charge in changing the country's policies.

Many of the Parkland students at the march in Washington on Saturday made it clear one of the next revolutions would be at the polls.

"We are going to make this the voting issue," said David Hogg, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas student and an organizer of the march. "We are going to take this to every election, to every state and every city. We are going to make sure the best people get in our elections to run not as politicians, but as Americans."    

Still, it won't be easy to blaze the trail. Experts and leaders of past movements say it’s going to be an uphill battle to translate the #NeverAgain movement into significant changes. A lot will revolve around local efforts, keeping pressure on lawmakers and having a clear message moving forward.

For the full story, visit USAToday.com/News.