Northwestern students found chapter of Students Demand Action


Photo courtesy of Mirabella Johnson

Members of Northwestern’s new chapter of Students Demand Action sit at their inaugural meeting. The group was formed after two Weinberg sophomores interested in gun control advocacy joined up.

Joshua Perry, Development and Recruitment Editor

Students Demand Action, a national advocacy group fighting gun violence with Everytown for Gun Safety, has a new chapter at Northwestern, and its members are preparing to make change in Evanston and Chicago.

Weinberg sophomores Lily Cohen and Mirabella Johnson founded the chapter and connected over their shared interest in advocacy for gun violence prevention. Since its formation at the start of Winter Quarter, SDA has been communicating with interested students and building their membership from the ground up. 

For now, Cohen said the group is working on putting down roots in the NU community and growing membership.

“Winter Quarter will really be focused on just getting people involved so that we have the capacity to have some larger scale events,” Cohen said.

Eventually, Johnson said she hopes SDA can collaborate with other student organizations and advocacy groups in the area. She’d like to see it expand beyond just NU’s student body and interact with communities in Evanston and Chicago. They have a number of ideas in the works, she said, including holding voter registration drives and advocating for gun control legislation. 

One of the group’s major objectives in its first year of activity is to get students informed about gun violence in America and interested in how they can help, Johnson said. 

“Overall, we want to promote awareness in the community,” Johnson said. “It feels so distant until it’s too late and you’ve already been impacted, and we don’t want to get to that ‘it’s too late’ standpoint.”

For students who haven’t been directly affected by gun violence, Johnson said relating to the issue is difficult, as others may not know how to get involved in activism. 

According to Johnson, SDA is meant to be an organizing force and a resource. This kind of advocacy can bolster the gun control legislation movement and keep people involved and tuned into advocacy after they graduate and leave NU, she said. 

Medill sophomore Jake Mozarsky, a new member of the chapter, said he chose to get involved for personal reasons. Two students he knew closely died in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and he said he doesn’t want others to go through what he and his community did.

“These policies that we’re trying to bring into the spotlight are important because we want people to be able to be guaranteed a tomorrow,” Mozarsky said. “And not have life cut short due to something that’s out of their control.”

Cohen said her cousin went to Parkland, so she also felt called to action in the wake of the tragedy there. She said SDA’s goal is to help others at NU realize the gravity and urgency of the gun violence epidemic, whether they’ve been affected by it or not.

Mozarsky said he’s grateful to have a space to engage with like minded activists on campus. For him, any way to contribute to this movement is worth it.

“I’m just happy that I can finally find some place where I can feel like I’m making a difference,” Mozarsky said. “Even if it’s so small.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @joshdperry

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