Students traveled downtown on Sunday to advocate for gun reform just three days after the mass shooting in Parkland, FL.
UChicago-based startup Gather Activism and RSO University of Chicago Democrats coordinated transportation to the march, which was hosted by the organizations Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Indivisible Chicago, Women’s March Chicago, and others.
Hundreds of protesters marched from Federal Plaza to Daley Plaza, and then later to Trump Tower. They demanded legislative change and encouraged voter turnout in November elections, chanting, “Thoughts and prayers are not enough” and “Vote them out.” Some held signs that read “Protect kids not guns,” “Gun owners for gun control,” and “End the gun lobby!”
Women's March and Indivisible Illinois asked members of Gather Activism to speak at the event.
“I’m here because I’m tired. I’m a 19-year-old student, and I’m tired...of going on social media and seeing people that look like me lying in their own blood,” shouted first-year and Gather Activism director of operations Marley Rosario to a crowd of students and protesters.
Enough. pic.twitter.com/kGr6z7BJQV— UChicago Democrats (@uchidemocrats) February 18, 2018
Second-year and Gather Activism campaigns director Kate Quinn spoke to the group about her South Carolina roots.
“I come from a state with two massive shootings—one in a church in Charleston, and another on a preschool playground, killing a first-grader. My politicians in South Carolina have done nothing. Nothing. And I’m sick of it,” Quinn said. “We are children, and we are worried about getting shot at our schools. This is absurd.”
Second-year UC Dems member Ridgley Knapp echoed her thoughts. He spoke to The Maroon about growing up in Connecticut.
“In 2012, with Sandy Hook, I was 14,” Knapp said. “That really shaped me because that’s right when I was coming into politics and being interested in that kind of stuff. I want to make my voice heard…I hope we can finally get some change. Vote people out.”
One student from Istanbul spoke to The Maroon about the international perception of United States gun laws.
“In Turkey, compared to the U.S., gun control laws are much stricter,” said first-year Fırat Çiftçi. “We need to do something against the gun violence in the U.S. Gun laws need to be on par with other western countries in the world.”