Seventeen minutes of silence on Sproul for Parkland shooting victims

Roughly 150 people gathered on Sproul Plaza for 17 minutes on Wednesday to honor the victims of the Parkland shooting. (UC Berkeley photo by Hulda Nelson)

Roughly 150 people gathered on Sproul Plaza for 17 minutes on Wednesday to honor the victims of the Parkland shooting. (UC Berkeley photos by Hulda Nelson)

As thousands of high school and middle school students marched out of their classrooms in a national protest against gun violence on Wednesday, some 150 UC Berkeley staff and students gathered for 17 minutes of silence on Sproul Plaza.

The group joined hands and stood silently in a circle to honor the 14 students and three adults who were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, exactly one month earlier. Each minute, organizers called out the name of one of the dead.

“There are 17 names on that list; They could have been anything: doctors, lawyers, police officers, a bus driver,” said Patrick Baur, a postdoc in environmental science and policy management who joined the circle. “But they got gunned down. I’m so numb to it all.”

UC Berkeley’s gathering was organized by student groups, including the Progressive Student Association.

“Even though we are thousands of miles away, we support the Parkland students,” said Harriet Steele, a third-year history major who is president of the student association. “In my 20-year lifetime, I’ve seen so many school shootings.”

Steele said she hoped the demonstration, along with others at schools across Berkeley, the Bay Area and country, would push elected leaders to take calls for gun control seriously.

“My hope is that we can show lawmakers at all levels of government — local, state and national — that a lot of people don’t like guns,” she said.

Contact Will Kane at willkane@berkeley.edu