The #WalkUpNotOut Movement: An Alternative Option for Students Protesting Gun Violence

walking up to lonely person

Alessa Love, the daughter of Representative Mia Love, recently gave a phone interview about the #WalkUpNotOut trend that is going on in Westlake. Alessa is a senior at Westlake.

Westlake High School in Utah invited their students to reach out to their peers. Some examples of what could be done are to walk up to someone who is sitting alone at lunch and invite them to join a group or approach someone who made a disturbance in class and ask them how they are doing.

This is to encourage an alternative to leaving the school building to protest school shootings or other crimes committed with guns.

Here is an excerpt from the article in the Daily Signal:

While students across the country protest school shootings Wednesday with walkouts, one senior says her school in Utah is encouraging students to “walk up, not out” and show an act of kindness.

“I feel like the media tends to focus a lot on the anger, hurt, and destruction of our youth in society,” Alessa Love, who attends Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

“And I feel it would be nice to have some healing and to show some kindness and help students not feel alone or upset or hurt,” Love, 18, said, “because actually, we might be able to stop the violent acts before we experience them.”

Those participating in the walkout alternative are using the hashtag #WalkUpNotOut on social media to promote the idea.

Students across the country organized National Walkout Day for Wednesday to demand solutions one month after the Feb. 14 massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, when a 19-year-old with a rifle killed 17 and wounded 17 others. They have used the hashtag #NationalWalkoutDay on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

Preventing violence might be better accomplished with student-to-student outreach, Love said.

“I’m not a doctor and I’m not a politician, and so I am just a student trying to help another student and I care,” the Utah student said. “I just feel like if we can save a student from [violent] thoughts or violent acts, we can save many more from being victims. And I just feel it’s always important to be that friend and to be that person.”

Alessa Love is the eldest of the three children of Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, and husband Jason Love.

Westlake High has about 4,000 students and the school leadership hopes all of them will participate, she said, adding that students should take the challenge beyond high school.

“I just think that it can carry throughout your life, to be that friend and encourage one another and help others before they have those violent acts and they go seek a gun,” Love said. “Just to be that friend.”

Elizabeth is a graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho. She has studied English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. She loves to read, write, listen to music, dance, swim, and go to movies in her spare time. She is the oldest of five children and loves her family to death.