Students unite in rally against gun violence at UNC

Students unite in rally against gun violence at UNC

A crowd gathered for the Rally Against Gun Violence at UNC-Chapel Hill on Thursday, March 30, 2018. Photo by Alex Johnson. The North Carolina flag waved above 17 empty chairs honoring the people killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Less than a week after thousands protested in downtown Raleigh during the March for

A crowd gathered for the Rally Against Gun Violence at UNC-Chapel Hill on Thursday, March 30, 2018. Photo by Alex Johnson.

The North Carolina flag waved above 17 empty chairs honoring the people killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Less than a week after thousands protested in downtown Raleigh during the March for Our Lives, hundreds of college students and supporters from across North Carolina stood in solidarity at the Rally Against Gun Violence at UNC-Chapel Hill on Thursday.

For more than two hours, anti-gun advocates encouraged a cheering crowd to continue the fight for gun control and vote out elected officials who don’t support changes in gun laws. 

The rally was a cross-campus effort by students who are outraged by the number of school shootings. For Duke organizer Taylor Lipsich, who is from Boca Raton, Florida, the Parkland shooting shook her entire community. She said she hopes people realize that “no voice is too small and that we are all capable of creating change and starting a movement.”

Speakers included members of the North Carolina legislature, students from Parkland, the Chapel Hill chief of police and relatives of those who were killed by guns. The speakers said there have been more than 200 school shootings since Columbine in 1999. 

They led moments of silence in honor of those who were killed. They brought some people to tears as they talked about their family and friends whose futures were taken from them.

Speakers focused on not only school shootings, but also the gun violence that affects people of all races, religions and sexualities. A speaker from Moms Demand Action focused on the need to eradicate gun violence not only at schools, but also at home where many minorities and women are the victims. She told a story of a friend whose son was shot in his neighborhood, and since that day, her friend does not allow her grandchildren outside of their own home for fear that they too will be killed.

Everyone emphasized the need for legislative change. A leader of the #NeverAgain movement and student from Parkland, Sarah Chadwick, summed it up when she spoke on changing what being an American politician means and how it should not be someone who is backed by the NRA and puts guns before children.

“It happened to me,” Chadwick said. “It could happen to you. Unless the politicians we elect can do something about it.”

For more news on Raleigh’s March for Our Lives, visit: http://www.newsobserver.com/latest-news/article206708234.html.

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