MTV Goes Dark for 17 Minutes to Support National School Walkout

At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, MTV and other Viacom networks suspended their scheduled programming for 17 minutes in conjunction with National Walkout Day, where students exited their classrooms to protest gun violence and honor the 17 people who were killed in the Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month.

“Right now, students everywhere are walking out of school to take a stand against gun violence. We stand with them,” the network says in a statement.

Instead of airing shows, MTV featured 17 young adults leading the fight against gun violence. Both MTV and Comedy Central also changed their logos to orange, the color that connotes gun violence awareness, leading up to the March For Our Lives in Washington D.C. on March 24.

Shari Redstone, the vice chair of Viacom’s board, will also donate $500,000 to the March for Our Lives movement.

Today we stand in solidarity with the #NationalSchoolWalkout against gun violence. |

— MTV (@MTV) March 14, 2018

MTV stands with all students as they participate in the #NationalSchoolWalkout against gun violence. |

— MTV (@MTV) March 14, 2018

Moved by the tragic shooting at a Parkland high school on Feb. 14, more than 185,000 students from more than 2,500 schools were expected to walk out of their classrooms across the country to protest gun violence.

“There’s gun violence in our schools and on our streets and we want to show the members of Congress and other adults in our lives that we are fed up with being unsafe,” Madison Thomas, national college coordinator for Women’s March Youth Empower, told PEOPLE. “We’re finally taking a stand and showing unified support for gun reform.”

Although some school districts across the country have threatened disciplinary action against students who walk out, there are legal resources for those who are punished.

“In the cases of the districts that have announced in advance they’re going to impose harsh punishments, the ACLU has already written letters to those districts reminding them of what the law is,” ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner said.

If anyone finds themselves receiving harsh treatment, he suggests they go to the ACLU website, or contact their local chapter. Additionally, the Women’s March website states the National Juvenile Defender Center will be staffing a legal referral hotline to connect students and/or their parents to local attorneys. The hotline number is 1-857-529-9373 (1-857-LAWYER3).

To help you make your voice heard — and to let your representatives know you will vote on the issue of sensible gun legislation — PEOPLE has released its Call to Action with the contact information for every single voting member of Congress.

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