My friend drove her 10-year-old daughter to school last Wednesday proud that she had decided to join the National Student Walkout — a movement that started when students at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School lost 17 of their own to gun violence. My friend told her daughter she and her classmates would become part of the long history of American student protest. Youthful anger and passion powerful enough to move a nation.

Young students just like her walked out of school in Birmingham, Alabama back in 1963 to protest the harsh reality of segregation. May 3rd was a pivotal moment in the Birmingham Children’s Crusade — the day more than 1,000 elementary and high school students were attacked by police dogs and water hoses and later hauled off to jail.

Five years later, frustrated by dilapidated school conditions and demanding cultural education, Chicano students led the East L.A. School Walkouts. Their action eventually involved 10,000 Chicano and Mexican students across the Southwestern states and laid the framework for the Chicano civil rights movement. Also in the 1960s, college students demonstrating against the Vietnam War left their classrooms and forced a public conversation about peace. Black Lives Matter young people affirmed the value of their lives in 2012 after unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin was killed and his killer acquitted. When thousands of students from coast to coast took to the streets shouting “no more silence” they felt the wind at their backs, the spirit of the legions of student protesters who came before.

I wasn’t sure the movement the Florida students started just days after burying their friends would have staying power. I’ve seen hashtag-sparked campaigns burn in the white heat of outrage only to fade away with the cold reality of a lack of commitment. But, the students insist this time is different. Oh, how I want that to be true.

It’s been thrilling to see these students face down politicians and critics all the while keeping the focus on gun violence. Millions of students are expected to show up this Saturday in Washington, D.C., for the next phase of their protest, the well publicized  “March for Our Lives.” In their impassioned fervor, I hear the echoes of history — the shouts of the East L.A. Chicanos, “Viva La Revolucion,” and the rousing musical mantra of Birmingham’s Children who sang, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.”