Students across the country took part in a national walkout to end gun violence on March 14, 2018.
Beginning at 10 a.m. local times, thousands of students at hundreds of schools abandoned their classrooms to send a clear message to legislators from coast to coast: They may be young, but they mean business when it comes to gun control.
And they had a sizable chunk of cable TV in their corner while they did it.
Cable TV giant Viacom suspended all programming during the walkout as a show of solidarity with student participants.
The media conglomerate — which owns networks like MTV, Comedy Central, BET, and Nickelodeon — broadcasted bold statements to viewers instead.
“We believe it’s critical to support the inspiring efforts of our youth, who are literally fighting for their lives,” Marva Smalls, Viacom’s executive vice president of global inclusion, said in a statement. “Viacom also has a responsibility to our audiences to do everything we can to elevate the many brave and bold activists to help them extend the reach and impact of their voices in this important movement.”
If you tuned into Nickelodeon, for instance, this is what you would have seen.
If you flipped on MTV, this message would have been on your screen.
The network also had students take over its social media channels for a period during the day.
And BET told viewers it’s “going dark” during the walkout as well.
Both the walkout and suspension in Viacom programming lasted 17 minutes in honor of the 17 victims of the shooting at a Florida high school on Feb. 14.
The senseless tragedy rattled the country — and then prompted a wave of student activists to rise up in its wake.
“We are going to be the kids you read about in text books,” said Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in a powerful speech on Feb. 17. “Not because we’re going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, but because … we are going to be the last mass shooting.”
Viacom said it also has plans to boost messaging and awareness around the March for Our Lives, a protest largely being executed by student activists demanding common sense gun legislation on March 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C.
“Companies trying to make caricatures of the teenagers these days, saying that we are self-involved and trend-obsessed, and they hush us into submission when our message doesn’t reach the ears of the nation,” Gonzalez said in her speech, “we are prepared to call BS.”
Learn more about the March for Our Lives.