Augustana en route to March for our Lives

Shanela Ranaraja

Marlen Gomez contributed to this article.
Around 54 students and faculty members from Augustana are en route to Washington D.C. to attend the March for our Lives on Mar. 24.
“I hope we can just, you know, see the effect these weapons have on everyday life and see how we can make it change,” junior Sydney Richardson said. “I think just showing that we have the power to make change in policy, it’s something that we want and something that we feel we need to do to stay safe at school.”
Richardson originally planned to meet up with her sister in D.C. to attend the march on her own, but the interest of her peers and the success of the Women’s March last year motivated her to plan the trip with Augustana.
The March For Our Lives, a non-violent protest against gun violence organized by the survivors of the Parkland school shooting, is expected to have thousands of sister events in cities all around the world.
Ella Fly, an administrative assistant, had assisted Richardson on who to contact for funding and sent out an email on Mar. 7, stating that the trip was sponsored by a number of organizations, such as the Student Government Association, the Jaeke Family Center, the political science and women’s and gender studies departments and the Freistat Center.
Most students were prompted to go by the events which caused the march.
“Gun violence is an issue that needs to be taken seriously,” junior Samantha Katz said. “Going to this march shows that we aren’t willing to simply let it fizzle out again.”
Faculty and staff came out to show their support for the students, as visiting professor in political science Brian Lovato said he wanted amplify the students’ voices. Tia Fuhr, assistant director of student life and coordinator of greek life, echoed Lovato on why she was heading to D.C.
“First is listening to students to hear their point of view and then supporting them and their decisions, this trip for instance, and then just sharing that with others,” Fuhr said.
First-year Jacob Washington was making a sign on the bus which read: “Why is the solution more guns?” He explained that the sign referred to President Donald Trump’s recommendations that teachers be armed against school shooters.
“Guns should be more regulated – the average citizen shouldn’t have access to firearms. Giving teachers guns is adding fuel to the fire,” Washington said.
Several of the students are also enthusiastic about the opportunity for non-violent protest.
“I feel like people coming together in such numbers for something they believe is one of the best ways to get the right kind of attention,” junior Kaylee Stewart said.
First-year Lotte de Boer said she had never been a part of a march.
“It’s going to be a big moment in history, and it’s pretty cool to think you can make a difference during a moment like that,” de Boer said.
Other students are interested in the politics behind the issue of gun violence as their reason for attending.
“Safety should be a national priority, and the government should be addressing that,” junior Jennifer DiBuono said. “I’m not anti-gun ownership, but I am pro common-sense gun laws. It’s something that should’ve been done a long time ago.”