California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Walkout Against Gun Violence Friday

    California Lutheran University students are standing in solidarity with those victimized by gun violence on school campuses across the nation by offering their support in a campus-wide walkout. The walkout aims to bring awareness to gun violence and further the discussion on gun control and gun safety. It will take place Friday, April 20 and is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the Spine.

    The national campus walkout initiative comes in response to the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that took 17 lives earlier this year. The upcoming walkout date at Cal Lutheranย  marks the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.

    The campus walkout at Cal Lutheran is organized by first-year students Katie Knapp, Hannah Whittaker and Cheyenne Boykin. After learning about what happened in Parkland, Knapp said they were shocked and horrified and wanted to become involved somehow.

    โ€œ[We] were inspired by the students in Parkland and how they were organizing walkouts and the March for Our Lives [movement], and we felt compelled because weย  all feel passionate about the issue,โ€ said Knapp, a political science major at Cal Lutheran and the founder and president of Young Democratic Socialists of America Club on campus.

    Whittaker, a biology major and the co-event planning director at the online magazine Her Campus, said she thinks students on campus have many thoughts and opinions on gun control. She said itโ€™s important to give them โ€œan outlet to go and express themselves and just show support for the entire movement as a whole.โ€

    The Ventura County Brady Campaign Chapter, a nonprofit group that focuses solely on the issue of gun violence and gun control, has been assisting the students in organizing the walkout event at Cal Lutheran.

    The Brady Campaign has provided lists with names and contact information for local and state representatives, and Knapp said they plan to have a โ€œbooth where students can come and call representativesโ€ on the day of the actual walkout.

    The Ventura Brady Campaign Chapter is also helping find a speaker for the walkout event, Knapp said.

    Knapp said they looked for someone with โ€œa personal story with gun violenceโ€ to speak, andย  have also considered someone from the Brady Campaign โ€œwho knows a lot about the issue.โ€

    During the walkout, the Alpha Kappa Delta Sociology Club will be tabling at the Spine. Knapp said that theyโ€™ve emailed all club presidents on campus about the opportunity to participate in the walkout and that clubs are โ€œmore than welcome to come and do a little activity related to the topic.โ€

    The Young Democratic Socialists of America Club and Her Campus have also offered volunteers, Whittaker said.

    Desta Goehner, director at the office of Congregational Relations, initially brought up the idea of doing something meaningful in response to the Parkland shooting, and has been supporting the students.

    โ€œThey are exceptional students with their own ideas, agendas and passion,โ€ Goehner said. โ€œItโ€™s important that we create brave spaces for students to say how they are feeling, what they think, mourn, grieve, be angry in and feel supportive community come around them to hold all of that.โ€

    The students are going to email teachers they know are passionate about the topic so they can encourage their students to participate.

    โ€œI hope that others on this campus will come to show their support of these students, will show up to be in community together and do this hard and messy work together,โ€ Goehner said.

    Julia Westman