Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Valentine's Day Bingo
February 24, 2024

Volunteers show up in numbers to D.C.

WASHINGTON D.C.– Although the students, families and teachers flocking to Washington D.C. contributed heavily to the success of the March for Our Lives on Mar. 24, volunteers in neon green T-shirts and vests played an important role as they met everyone at every street corner.
Some of these volunteers had strong personal motivations for showing up in support.
“I have a grandchild and a great grandchild on the way, and I’d like things to be safe by the time they go to school,” Craig Utariello of Coral Springs, Florida said. “Also, I hate guns.”
Utariello was looking forward to seeing students stay involved beyond the march and making the changes needed.
“Beyond guns, we need to get rid of these politicians that the NRA supports,” Utariello said. “Someone also needs to look at the Second Amendment again, because I don’t think it means what we were told for the last 50 years.”
However, a complete removal of guns was not the answer for Debra Wetty of New Jersey.
“I think we need to get rid of different types of guns,” Wetty said. “People are gonna have a rifle in their house, that’s okay. I don’t believe in handguns and those bumps stocks.”
The march highlighted information from the Federal Assault Weapons ban, that expired in 2004, and how it helped reduce the amount of shootings across the country.
“We had an assault weapons ban from 1994 until 2000, and it worked great,” mused Utariello. “Now, we have a problem.”
Allison Watts of Culpepper, Virginia hoped that by people using their “freedom of speech and freedom of gathering,” the Capitol would see that “we’re not happy” and bring about change.
“I want to be able to tell my grandkids that I was here and I helped,” Watts said.
Watts had been on the scene since 6:45 a.m. and anticipated remaining at the march until 5 p.m.
Elizabeth Black was a teacher in D.C. and explained why she got involved in the march.
“One year my classroom didn’t lock from the inside and I remember already being scared of what would happen if a shooter came in,” Black said. Although Black is no longer in the education field, she said that, “as a teacher, not being able to protect students and even having to think about that? It’s a worthy cause to help out with.”
Some volunteers drew links between the march and the city’s politicians.
“We all live in this city,” Mahbue Sarwar of D.C. said. “The entire country sends its politicians here and treats it like the swamp, but the truth is that if you want real change, you have to vote in the politicians who represent you.”
Other volunteers identified strongly with the protesters.
“I wanted to help amplify the voices of the next generation,” Nat Mammo of D.C. said. “I’m not that much older than you are now, and I felt that by volunteering, I could help lift your voices to the forefront a little more.”

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Volunteers show up in numbers to D.C.