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FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – In a show of support for National Walk Out Day and National Day of Action against Gun Violence, thousands of students nationwide walked out of class in a push for safer schools.

The walkouts come on the 19th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High in Littleton, Colorado in which 13 people were killed.

Students were urged to stay on campus during the walkouts and observe a 13-second silence in honor of those who died in Columbine.

Not all of those urging improved school safety and common sense gun control were at schools.

A small group from Calvary Christian Academy marched to Ft. Lauderdale City Hall where they were greeted by Mayor Dean Trantalis.

Amanda Hotte read a letter written by a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High student who wrote about not knowing where her sister was during the February 14th mass shooting in which 17 people were killed, including 14 students. The letter described the horror of that day and how their lives have changed forever.

“I have a little sister who is, unfortunately, going to be in high school when I graduate and I have to worry about her safety. Me having a little sister and her having a little sister, it’s just terrifying,” said Hotte.

Others spoke of the change that needs to happen and how they were going to be the instruments of that change.

“We need to be the change,” said Calvary Christian Academy student Nicole. “Closed mouths do not get fed. We need to speak up for ourselves. It could be me, it could be my friends, it could be your friends, it could be your daughter, it could be your son.”

The student-led rally was joined by students from Ft. Lauderdale High.

“We have to march to protect the future of the people that are going to school. We need to stop the shootings and try to make this world a better place,” said Camilo Prado

Organizers of the rally said they want to send a message that further inaction on this issue will not be tolerated. They add that if politicians fail to act, young people will show them the consequences of letting so many Americans die by voting them out in November.

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