National News

Silent forms of protest make bold statements at Parkland graduation

Posted June 3, 2018 2:45 p.m. EDT

— Silver and burgundy are the official colors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. But members of the school community used the color orange and other symbols to make statements at Sunday's graduation.

Orange is a recurring motif in the fight for stricter gun control, inspired by the color that hunters wear to protect themselves. As representatives of a generation that's saying "never again" to gun violence, some survivors of the February school shooting incorporated orange into Sunday's commencement ceremony in Sunrise, Florida.

Senior David Hogg, a prominent voice in the Never Again movement, wore an orange cap with a price tag for $1.07 attached to the tassel. The price tag -- which students wore at protests -- is intended to represent how much each student in the state is worth to Florida Senator Marco Rubio based on how much money he received from the NRA.

Teachers Jeff Foster and Darren Levine wore orange paint under their eyes during the ceremony.

Levine posed for a photo with another teacher, Ivy Schamis, who wore orange lipstick.

Senior Delaney Tarr, another well-known figure in Never Again, also donned orange lipstick for the occasion.

Other used their graduation caps to send heartfelt messages honoring Stoneman Douglas seniors who did not live to walk with their classmates.

Senior Hannah Karcinell wore an orange cap decorated with a picture of her and friend Nicholas Dworet, who died in the shooting. "We will fight for you," a message on the cap read.

Friends and relatives accepted diplomas, caps and tassels on behalf of the deceased students. The mother of victim Joaquin Oliver wore a yellow shirt declaring "This should be my son" as she accepted her son's items.

After Joaquin's death, his parents founded the advocacy group Change the Ref, which aims to train youth activists and diminish the influence of the Nation Rifle Association.