No one in her school would walk out with her. So her dad did
CARLISLE, Pa. — Delilah Matrese is only 10 but she’s very passionate about current events.
She made climate change the topic of a class project and “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver is her hero.
So when she heard that students from 2,500 schools across the country were preparing to walk out of their classes to demand gun control, Delilah, who attends Hamilton Elementary in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, asked her parents if she could join in.
“She wasn’t able to do the last walkout, so she begged us to let her do this one,” her mother, Melissa Matrese, told CNN.
Matrese claims no other members of the faculty or students joined her daughter in the walkout. So her husband, Stephen, stepped in.
“My husband had to go to her school, sign her out, and stay with her,” Matrese said, adding that her daughter “didn’t care about being the only one because ‘Mommy, this is too important to be embarrassed.'”
Hamilton Elementary confirmed that Delilah is a student in the school but refused to comment on whether she was the only one to take part in the walkout.
First-grader also took a stand on her own
Seven-year-old Havana Chapman-Edwards decided to take action, too.
Her mother claims she was the only student from Fort Hunt Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia, to walk out on Friday.
Her mom, Bethany Edwards, said the school did not make plans for a walkout, so she decided to check Havana out of class to make sure she would be allowed to participate.
“When we walked out and saw no one else had, I was crushed initially because she was so upset,” Edwards told CNN. They decided to watch coverage from other walkouts, which lifted Havana’s spirit.
“She said, ‘I am going to tell my friends I did this, and then next time there will be more of us. That means we are winning.’ I knew then that she understood what it means to be a leader, even in the most simple terms,” the proud mom added.
Havana wore an orange spacesuit because she thinks it’s important for kids to dream big for the future.
“She wanted to represent for African and African-American girls who are victims of gun violence, as well as her cousin, Tony, who was a victim of gun violence. By wearing her astronaut suit, she wants show the world that black girls are beautiful and strong and have just as much of a right to be leaders as anyone else,” her mom said. “She wants to be a warrior for girls all over the world who don’t have a voice.”
Havana and her family also attended the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. on March 24.
Fort Hunt Elementary declined to provide information for this piece.
‘It’s not just me this time’
On the other hand, Justin Blackman, 16, was the only student in his school to walk out on March 14.
Today, about 350 of his fellow students at Wilson Preparatory Academy in Wilson, North Carolina joined him.
“I feel like nowadays teens have a voice, and I decided to express my voice with walking out and showing that I don’t stand for the injustice in our schools,” he told CNN. “The big difference from this walkout and the other walkout were numbers and with numbers we can still stand together and show that we won’t change.”
He shot a video of today’s walkout, showing crowds of students standing outside in front of the school. “It’s not just me this time,” he said.