In solidarity of thousands of schools participating in the social movement sweeping the nation Wednesday morning, Saddleback College Associated Student Government President Erica Delamare led students in a peaceful protest to end gun violence, following a moment of silence to honor the 17 lives lost in the Parkland, Florida tragedy one month ago.
“We really wanted to make our voices heard,” Delamare said. “As students, our voices have a lot of power and we felt that we wanted to participate in support of the local high schools and colleges that are also participating in the walkout.”
Delamare was pleased by the turnout at 10 a.m. which also included instructors. According to Delamare, the protest was organized as a bipartisan event which does not necessarily seek stricter gun laws, but provides a platform for the resources to register to vote, allowing students to make their voices heard without any campaign affiliation.
“I’m here because I’m tired of us not having a conversation about it,” said psychology instructor Kathy Damm. “I want to have a conversation about it and I want our lawmakers to follow the conversations of the people they represent.”
Both students and instructors displayed signs they created. Damm held a sign that read ”Protect Students NOT Guns” and April Cubbage, a sociology instructor at Saddleback, clutched a poster reading “Schools Not Warzones.”
“I’m inspired by the movement of young students who have seen too many mass shootings and are saying enough is enough,” Cubbage said. “So I stand in solidarity with our college campus and schools across the nation, especially the victims of the most recent mass shooting.”
Caroline Gee held a sign which read simply “#neveragain #enough.” Gee is a psychology instructor at Saddleback also attending the protest to voice concern for ensuring schools remain a safe place to learn.
“I’m here to support the protection of students on our campus and every campus,” Gee said.
Saddleback instructors Kathryn Damm, April Cubbage, and Caroline Gee support #Enough! National School Walkout. (Holly Broxterman/Lariat)
Saddleback’s ASG set up a tent distributing small orange ribbons for participants to pin to themselves, which Delamare described as a useful way to promote awareness and unify the community.
“Having not only this amount of student but also faculty support I think is really crucial,” Delamare said. “I know this can be a bit of a controversial subject but I think it went really well. I think it was a good step for all views to come together and work to end gun violence.”
The national walkout was organized by the Women’s March Network, with another walkout planned on April 20 to coincide with the anniversary of the Columbine shooting in 1999. More than 2,800 schools participated in the national march, according to the Post on Thursday. The impact of the walkout remains to be seen, but the amount of participation speaks volumes.