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March for our lives
Hundreds of protesters and activists marched through downtown Iowa City to protest the lack of gun regulation in schools on March 24.
March 24, 2018
“Not one more, not one more” could be heard throughout downtown Iowa City on Saturday, March 24, as hundreds of people marched to the Pentacrest in protest of gun violence. Members of SASS, Students Against School Shootings, organized the event in hopes of spreading more awareness for gun control. College and high school students as well as members of the community attended.
The march began with speeches from Iowa City West SASS members, Nick Pryor ’18 and Lujayn Hamad ’18. After their speeches, protesters traveled through the ped mall and eventually ended up at the Pentacrest where Holly Sanger, a member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Margalit Frank, a sixth grader from Longfellow, University of Iowa student Herbert Meisner, and City High’s Edie Knoop ’18 and Shayna Jaskolka ’18 spoke about their views on gun control and gun violence.
Olivia Lusala ‘19 and Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin ‘19
“I’m here because I’m scared. It’s way too easy to get a gun in America and it’s way too easy to kill children. I’m hoping that we [SASS and other students] are a part of the wave and that our lawmakers see that we want change. And if they don’t get that, we’re going to be voting and we’re going to vote them out. I am so happy about this turnout. I was a little doubtful at first because the weather is so bad. I had to walk here and I couldn’t even see. It really just shows how much we care. You can count on Iowans to help.” -Olivia Lusala ‘19, CHS
“I’m here today because there shouldn’t be guns in our schools and these school shootings shouldn’t be happening. As high school students, we should be the ones doing something about it. We can make change if we keep coming together and showing our support for gun legislation. Even though we are in high school and we’re kids, we can make a change. I feel great about the turnout today. We were a little worried because the weather isn’t what we were expecting, but it’s great that so many people came out in the cold and snow and they’re here to support us.” -Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin ‘19, CHS
Hira Mustafa ‘19
“I’m here to stand in solidarity with everyone, including myself, who cares about the future of this country and the future of children being safe in schools. I think we need gun reform in this country and common sense gun laws. I have seen so many of my friends be impacted. I’m an RA in Catlett and I oversee 38 students on my floor. To see them fear going to class, to see them fear their existence at the university is so troubling to me. I care so deeply to make sure they feel safe here. There was a school shooting here many years ago, so the University of Iowa has definitely been hit hard before, and we do not want that happening again here or anywhere else in the country or the world. I am impressed and always so happy to see the turnout of people in Iowa City when it comes to rallies. I saw this crowd when DACA was hit, when the election results came out. Our community has this way of coming together when they are impacted and holding each others hands and making sure none of us feel alone.” -Hira Mustafa ‘19, University of Iowa student
Lujayn Hamad ‘18
“I’m here to support the future of our country because they finally seem to have a voice, because I have a daughter who’s starting high school. I was in the physics and astronomy department in 1991 when right here on this very campus we had a school shooting. I knew most of the people who were involved and it’s been too long since then and 39 days is too long. A day is too long. How do you stay silent? You can’t. For me, it’s personal. On many levels. I’ve been sick for two days and I came down because it doesn’t matter how you feel … this is way more important than any of that. For so long, and again a lot of the speeches, it gets talked about all the time and nothing seems to happen. Now finally, it seems like there’s momentum and it’s not stopping. Back when it happened, a little over 26 years ago, we didn’t have social media and text messaging. I didn’t even know it actually happened. I just left the building and I got to my house and my phone was ringing. It was my grandma trying to find out if I was still alive. And that’s how I found out. Now it seems like there’s more power, more of a voice and my god, I never want it to stop, I never want it to be silenced. [This has] given me more hope than I’ve had in a long, long time.” -Dave Paisley, University of Iowa alumni
“Moms Demand Action, our short name, was founded to promote gun safety and gun legislation. We support the 2nd Amendment, but we think you can believe in the 2nd Amendment but also make sure that there is sensible gun laws. We particularly support background checks and people being licensed. We were founded five years ago following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary school. Now [we have] over four million members and each state has a group and within the state, locations have groups. In Iowa City, we have about 150 members and we’re really working to grow our organization. We have an event every June called “Wear Orange.” It’s our big event of the year and it’s to celebrate. There was a student in Chicago named Hadiya Pendleton who marched in Obama’s second inauguration. Two weeks later she was killed by gun violence in Chicago. Her family and friends started this event to celebrate her birthday, June 2, which is to wear orange. Orange is supposed to denote safety when you’re hunting. This year we’re going to be doing a walk out at Terry Trueblood. We also have a program called “Be Smart,” which is a way to keep kids safe if there are guns in the home. We’re here today to support these amazing students. This was unbelievable. I think the turnout was great. I think had it been 40 degrees, we would have had 1,000 people. I was talking to Teagan the other night and he said ‘Oh, what if the weather’s really bad?’ I said, ‘You know what? If two people show up in Alaska, 200,000 show up in Florida and 500 show up here, every one of those people who shows up matters. All our voices count. And together this is millions of people saying enough. When I joined MOMS, I did it because I felt like I had to. What I found when I joined our local group was a community. A wonderful community of people who I laugh with, who I cry with, who I do events with and because it’s in a group, we keep each other supported. What students have done over the last month has completely revitalized this movement.” -Holly Sanger, member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Shayna Jaskolka ‘18
“There’s kind of a lot of reasons why I’m here today. The Parkland shooting really struck me because by that point I think we already had 15 school shootings in 2018. It would’ve been two and a half months [since the last one]. That’s not okay. I know my school could be next. Parkland was also voted one of the safest places to live in Florida and Iowa City is also a very safe place to live. It just shows you that it can happen anywhere. There [are] too many problems with our government as well. I’ve become extremely politically active within the past couple years and so this was just something really important to me. I know it’s difficult, especially even doing a walkout, because standing up and getting out is really nerve wracking. Honestly it’s one of those things that you just have to get up and do it. In my speech, I said ‘I’m afraid of public speaking,’ I truly am, but I knew I would regret if I didn’t participate and if I didn’t stand up and do anything about it because something needs to be done.” -Shayna Jaskolka ‘18, CHS
Amanda Parsons ‘18, Catherine Collins ‘18 and Anna Truszkowski ‘18
“I came out today to show our current legislation in Iowa that something needs to be done and that high schoolers are able to create change and influence people to vote and we’re not just stupid idiots who eat Tide Pods. We need to get out in 2018 and vote and change legislation and to change people in charge because it’s clearly not working right now. -Amanda Parsons ‘18, ICW
“I think it’s really important to know that we, as high schoolers, have the ability to catalyze change and even though a lot of times we are shunned or dismissed by our lawmakers, I think it’s really important to note that we have the ability and we can instill the ability in others to promote and enact change in this country because it needs it. I came out here to prove to our legislatures that we are a force of nature and we’re a force to be reckoned with. They need to rethink their policies, they need to rethink their legislation because the citizens of the United States are angry. I just want them to know that we’ve started a wave and we’re coming for them. -Catherine Collins ‘18, ICW
“I came out here today to support my fellow students that are a part of SASS and to let people know that I care about this issue and that I will do whatever it takes to make something happen. If I learned one thing from this event it’s that nothing can stop us from making change. We are powerful and we have a voice so we need to come together and make it happen.” -Anna Truszkowski ‘18, ICW