The ongoing struggle to end gun violence


Photo by Nazareth Academy Communications Office

Nazareth Students on the football field during the 2018 walk out.

Fiona Roach

   In April of 2018, Nazareth students conducted a walk out to protest gun violence and call for increased gun control. Now, three years later, the class of 2021—freshmen at the time of the walk out—is getting ready to graduate. But what has changed?    

   The 2018 walk out was in response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting that resulted in 17 deaths. Nazareth students were shocked and distressed to hear about this tragedy, and they responded with a call to action. 

   Featuring informational sessions on gun legislation and violence, the walk out even included a speech from U.S. Representative Dan Lipinski. Senior Alice Hamilton said, “I remember the day of the walk out because it was upsetting, but also very empowering.” The event ended with a demonstration on the football field to honor the lives lost at Parkland with 17 seconds of silence.

      Unfortunately, not much progress has been made since the day students walked out and called for stronger gun legislation. Gun violence is still an enormous problem in the United States, especially in Chicago. 177 people have been killed since the beginning of 2021 in Chicago alone and gun violence is the number one cause, according to the The Chicago Tribune.

   Nationally, there have been 1,989 deaths in 2021 so far due to gun violence, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Many of these incidents have occured in states with more lenient gun legislation. 

   While school shootings are still a significant issue, media attention in the past year has turned its focus to police shootings and brutality. Despite the pandemic, there have been thousands of protests across the nation calling for an end to the violence. According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), there were over 10,600 demonstrations in summer of 2020, 95% of which were peaceful. 

   In addition to protests, social media has become an integral way to share information and resources. Especially for young people, apps like Instagram and Twitter make it very easy to repost content and information to one’s own account. Junior Natalie Rozmus commented, “Social media has become a huge way for people to express their ideas and beliefs.”

   Whether it’s posts or protests, the people who take part in these movements refuse to be ignored and their actions have not been in vain. On April 7, the Biden-Harris Administration announced its plan to address recent gun violence. This initiative includes a call for Congress to pass bills closing loopholes in current gun laws and instituting a federal “red flag” law, making it harder for people to obtain a gun.

   Additionally, the Administration is proposing a $5 billion project to support community violence intervention programs over 8 years. According to The White House, five federal agencies are directing funds and resources to these intervention programs. President Biden has also named Gun Control Advocate and Law Enforcement Veteran David Chipman as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in order to improve gun safety laws.

   These improvements were hard fought by the people of the United States. In remembering the walk out, we recognize the immense impact that anyone, even freshmen in high school, can have on the state of our nation.