Sandy Hook Elementary School. Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church. Pulse nightclub. Route 91 Harvest country music festival. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Connecticut, Texas, Florida, Nevada.
In our lifetimes, we have witnessed an epidemic of mass shootings — horrific massacres that have not discriminated against city, state, age, race or sexuality; they have broken down every geographical and human border. I remember being glued to the TV screen, tears silently streaming down my face as I watched parents waiting outside Sandy Hook Elementary to realize their worst nightmares. Twenty-eight people were brutally murdered that day, among them precious, innocent children. I thought something would change. It hasn’t.
Nearly six years have passed and just about nothing has been done to stop or even ameliorate gun violence in the United States. In fact, shootings are becoming deadlier as times goes on. After waiting idly, it’s clear that we must take action ourselves. We cannot wait around for policymakers to change things. We must show them that we want change and that we want it now.
There are a number of ways to voice our concerns about anti-gun violence. Just a week ago, thousands of students across the nation walked out of class to stand together in solidarity for the 17 victims of the Parkland high school shooting in Florida. While that day is over, the support for anti-gun violence is certainly not.
Before taking action, one should research their viewpoint and opposing viewpoints as well. There will be much more credibility if you’re informed and can defend your stance to anyone, especially those who disagree. An easy thing to do is simply call or email your state and national representatives and tell them how you feel. The more that their constituents voice their opinions and the stronger they feel, the more likely and quickly Congress will act.
Vote. It’s the most democratic method. Vote for people that you think will take action for anti-gun violence.
Lawmakers notice large, united groups of people advocating for an issue. You can join, or even create an advocacy group. Advocacy groups can rally up more support and are better equipped to generate more resources to show support.
For Collegiettes in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, March for Our Lives took place last Sunday, March 24 in Amherst. The march was at 10 a.m., from Kendrick Park to the Amherst town common. There was another in the downtown area of Northampton. These were incredible opportunities to join in the national protest against gun violence, but they were not the only chances to show your opposition.
If we do nothing now, it might only be a matter of time until the next gun violence tragedy is upon us. We cannot keep getting riled up in the days following a shooting and then go back to our lives as if nothing happened. Let’s inform ourselves, vote, write and call, join others, and show our support for anti-gun violence before we are again too late.
Images: First is courtesy of Sarai Rodriguez, 2