Students, faculty and staff walked out of their respective spaces March 14 at 10 a.m. in solidarity with National School Walkout to end gun violence.
The demonstration was in response to the mass shooting Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen students as young as 14 were killed during the encounter; the oldest were only 18. A football coach and athletic director are also counted for their sacrifice in attempts of fending off the perpetrator.
According to the flyer, the purpose of the demonstration was “protesting Congress' inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods. Students and allies are organizing the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets, and in our homes and places of worship.”
The organizations responsible for organizing this event was Students Advocating for Gender Equality (SAGE), CCU Democrats and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
The demonstration began with faulty member Julinna Oxley thanking the CCU community that had walked out of their classrooms and offices to bring awareness to gun violence followed by Ates Emiroglu, president of CCU democrats, explaining the purpose of the demonstration. A student then stepped forth to share his own view on the issue.
“Gun violence is too normalized,” he said. “Enough is enough.”
He along with 16 other students had a white flower to represent each of the lives lost during the Florida shooting. They all then linked arms and formed a human chain that walked across Prince Lawn and back.
When they returned, Oxley along with another faculty member read the names of the victims before a moment of silence. A consensus of devastation was reflected upon the faces of students, faculty and staff as 17 minutes passed in honor of each life lost. The Graham Bell Tower was also chimed 17 times.
All that could be heard was a chorus of sniffling because of the cold weather and the impact of gun violence.
Oxley’s final remarks had an uplifting effect on the mood.
“It is a time to honor and hope for a better future.”
Emiroglu urged attendees to register to vote and know their congress representatives.
Krystina Miller, president of SAGE and co-organizer of the event, had this to say about the feedback she’s received after the demonstration.
”I've gotten mixed feedback,” she said. “Some people have been really supportive in saying they are proud of students for honoring victims of gun violence and demanding change from our lawmakers. On the other hand, I've received feedback from people saying walking out doesn't change anything and that it's a waste of time.”
As students, faculty and staff were protesting the legislative inaction regarding gun violence, the National Rifle Association (NRA) organization on campus had a “I’m pro-gun. Change my mind” table on Prince Lawn.
Regardless of gun regulation views, one should always know how to get in contact with their local Congressmen. The two senators for South Carolina is Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott.
To contact Graham, students can email her at https://www.lgraham.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-senator-graham. Students can also call at 202-224-5972.
To contact Scott, students can email him at https://www.scott.senate.gov/contact/email-me and call telephone number 202-224-6121.