Silent protests seem loud at Parkland graduation

By Emanuella Grinberg and Amanda Jackson

Published June 4, 2018

Technically, silver and burgundy are the official colors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America/Getty Images

But some in the school community used symbols to make statements about gun violence without raising their voices at Sunday’s graduation

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Numerous members of the class of 2018 wore sashes bearing the message #MSDStrong, the school's rallying cry after the February mass shooting


Orange is a recurring motif in the fight for stricter gun control, inspired by the color hunters wear to protect themselves. Some survivors of the shooting incorporated orange into their graduation regalia.


Graduating senior David Hogg, a prominent voice in the Never Again movement, wore an orange cap with a $1.05 price tag attached. The tag is intended to represent how much each student in Florida is worth to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio based on how much money he received from the National Rifle Association.


Teacher Jeff Foster, the ceremony’s grand marshal, wore orange pigment under his eyes.

Jeff Foster

Teachers Darren Levine and Ivy Schamis also made statements with what they chose to wear. Schamis donned orange lipstick.

Darren Levine

Delaney Tarr, who also has been active in the Never Again movement, wore orange lipstick for the occasion, too.

Delaney Tarr

Others used their graduation caps to send heartfelt messages honoring four seniors who did not live to walk with their classmates.

Senior Hanna Karcinell wore an orange cap decorated with a picture of her with her friend Nicholas Dworet, who died in the shooting. “We will fight for you,” said the message.



Friends and relatives accepted diplomas on behalf of the deceased students. The mom of victim Joaquin Oliver wore a yellow shirt declaring “This should be my son” as she accepted his items.


Joaquin’s parents founded the advocacy group Change the Ref, which aims to train youth activists and diminish the NRA’s influence

The brother of Meadow Pollack accepted his sister’s diploma. One of her friends wore a cap adorned with a photo and message: “We are still in this together”

Carly Ogozaly