Northwestern students participate in March for Our Lives across the country


Photo courtesy of Maddie Gaines

Northwestern students Farrah Sklar (left), Maddie Gaines (center) and Valen-Marie Santos, who helped organize Northwestern Stands With Marjory Stoneman Douglas, attend the March for our Lives event in Parkland, Florida. Several NU students participated in marches across the country on Saturday to protest gun violence in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland.

Jonah Dylan, Campus Editor

Medill senior Stephanie Bernstein is from Plantation, Florida, just a 30-minute drive from nearby Parkland, Florida. When a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14, Bernstein wanted to take action.

“When the shooting happened on Feb. 14, it just hit way too close to home to just kind of sit here and sulk,” she said.

Bernstein, along with other Northwestern students, participated in the March for Our Lives on Saturday. The march was a student-led demonstration held in cities around the country to protest gun violence in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

On March 14, the one-month anniversary of the shooting, hundreds of NU community members participated in a walkout to advocate for gun reform. Later that day, a report of a person with a gun on the Evanston campus resulted in a lockdown. While the report was later determined to be a hoax, many students recounted the day as a traumatizing experience.

“I personally feel like I can’t afford to wait until someone does something,” Bernstein said. “Given the scare, albeit it was a hoax, it was a very real scare and a very real, frightening threat on that day that this could have happened at Northwestern, and we could’ve been another school on people’s posters.”

Communication freshman Valen-Marie Santos, who helped organize the March 14 walkout, attended the March for Our Lives event in Parkland. Hearing members of the community speak, she said, gave her hope that change will come soon.

“Hearing those words coming out their mouths, hearing their actual experiences and how this really directly affected them and how they can take all the trauma, all the frustration and all the grief and turn it into words of inspiration and lead something like this is just incredible,” she said.

Medill junior Danny Cooper, who also helped organize the walkout, attended the flagship March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. According to NBC News, organizers estimated that more than 800,000 people attended the Washington event, which featured performances and speeches from students and celebrities.

Cooper, a former Daily staffer, said he was inspired by the speakers and the fact that high school students, especially those from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had mobilized so quickly to fight for gun reform.

“If they’re able to do that a month after their friends were killed next to them, why should we not do everything we can to be as supportive of the movement as possible, so that no one has to ever go through anything like this again?” Cooper said. “To actually hear them speak in person was pretty amazing.”

Northwestern Stands with Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a Facebook page that has more than 500 likes, organized the walkout on March 14. Bernstein, Santos and Cooper are all members of the group and said they are planning an event for April 20, which will be the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting.

The group is also trying to reschedule a vigil that had been planned for March 14 but was canceled due to the gun scare. Santos said it’s important to keep talking about these issues moving forward.

“With these kinds of things, it’s very easy to get outraged and have all these events and really do something at the beginning right when the topic is fresh and something has just happened,” Santos said. “But I think the hard part, the part that I hope succeeds, is the persistence to keep addressing this issue even as the tragedy gets further and further away.”

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