Saddleback College ASG encourages college walkout participants to write letters to politicians, register to vote and sign petitions on Wednesday, March 14.
The Associated Student Government participated in organizing the Women’s March Youth Empower’s country-wide #Enough! National School Walkout in the Saddleback campus quad on Wednesday, March 14. The 17 minute demonstration featured a speech from ASG President Erica Delamare and a moment of silence for the Parkland, Florida school shooting’s 17 victims that occured on Feb. 14.
ASG President Erica Delamare presenting her speech for the Saddleback College Walkout on March 14. (Ashley Hern)
ASG arranged a table decorated with letters and postcards students could use to send a message to Congress members, as well as more than 100 orange ribbons. According to the Women’s March Youth Empower’s tool kit, orange is the color of the gun violence prevention movement. Within the center of the quad, ASG placed 17 empty, white chairs with each Parkland victim’s name and a description of their personality, goals and academic successes.
ASG members, Karla Agila and Karuka Hijioka, organizing orange ribbons before the Saddleback College Walkout on March 14. (Ashley Hern)
“The walkout is not for or against gun control,” said Karla Agila, a Saddleback ASG member to a walkout participant asking questions about the event. “It is a bipartisan event. The event is more so people coming together and saying that students should not be afraid to go to school because of violence.”
17 empty, white chairs placed within the Saddleback College campus quad for the Saddleback College Walkout on March 14. (Ashley Hern)
Delamare estimates that more than 350 people participated in the Saddleback College Walkout. ASG has the responsibility of counting the amount of mail directed towards politicians that participants wrote during the event. Participants also had the ability to register to vote at ASG’s booth.
Multiple walkout participants standing and talking within the campus quad at the Saddleback College Walkout on March 14. (Ashley Hern)
“You know, it is important to be there for your peers regardless if you support it or not, or what your own individual beliefs are,” said Moises Machuca, a Saddleback student and English major. “But, I think it is really important to be there and show up. It is something greater than yourself, something bigger than you. Something that you can tell generations down the line or your peers where ever it is that you go to, that you were involved in something for human progression.”
According to the Gun Violence Archive, 11,050 incidents of gun violence have taken place in the United States during 2018. Furthermore, 46 mass shootings, 345 unintentional shootings, 56 shootings that involved a police officer being shot or killed and 475 incidents that involved a police subject or suspect being shot or killed have occurred as well.
The Giffords Law Center explains that in the state of California all gun sales need to go through a licensed dealer and require a background check. California prohibits the sale, transfer, manufacture and possession of large capacity ammunition magazines, as well as assault weapons and .50 caliber rifles.
The state of California is currently represented in Congress by two senators that participate in the United States Senate and 53 representatives that engage in the United States House of Representatives. California’s registered voters will be able to vote in the California Assembly District 54 Special Election on April 3, the California Statewide Direct Primary Election on June 5, the Orange County Primary Election on June 5, as well as the Primary Election on Nov. 6.
“We encourage each of you to take action, get involved in your community, stay informed and vote in the next election,” said Delamare during her speech. “If you are not registered or ready, please take a minute to register at our booth that will be here until 1 p.m. today. It is important that we as students and as citizens uphold our civic duty and are civically engaged. We are the leaders of today and the future.”
The Women’s March Youth Empower has organized future events, which include the #MarchForOurLives event on March 24 and the #NationalSchoolWalkout event on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre. The Newtown Action Alliance has also compiled a list of nationwide vigils and events that #StandWithParkland.