Seventeen students from Northridge Academy High School stood on the steps of the Oviatt Library holding signs with each victim’s name and age of the Parkland Florida shooting.
Demonstrators dressed in red and held signs reading “Enough is enough” and “How many more?” dissenting the nation’s current firearm regulations.
Chanting filled the air outside the Oviatt on Saturday, March 24, as passionate students and adults held a March for Our Lives demonstration to put an end to mass shootings. Members of the university’s College of Education collaborated with the Students for Political Decency club to organize the rally
“CSUN has a long reputation of being a place of activism and we thought it was a good idea to revive that,” said Dr. Joannie Busillo-Aguayo,associate professor in the Michael D. Eisner College of Education and coordinator of the rally planning committee. “With our college being full of educators training future educators, we decided it rightfully rested with us to do something about this.”
To commemorate the memory of the students, a 17-minute period of silence was held. Every minute one of their names was read aloud to honor each of their lives.
“I was trying to average out the age of those students,” said Education Department faculty member Ricardo Sosapavon. “The average was about 16 and I thought ‘God, what was I doing at 16?’ I was not thinking about school safety. I was going to school and having a great time.”
According to the co-cordinator of the rally’s planning committee, Dr. Richard Castallo, the rally was planned following the Parkland shooting. Castallo says that the rally was organized to have people understand that mass shootings are primarily a gun control issue as opposed to a school safety matter.
“If you go to any school at three o’clock when the gates open and kids pour out, you realize that evil people have targets,” Castallo said. “Those targets are not always inside the school. They’re in Las Vegas. They’re in Fort Hood. They’re in our malls and they’re in our playgrounds.”
Demonstrators of all ages came to voice their concerns with the nation’s current gun laws. From speeches to signs, elementary school students to university faculty had the same goal of trying to prevent the next mass shooting. During his speech, the Students for Political Decency club President Michael Meeks worked with the College of Education staff to help the community.
“In short, we’re marching to save our lives,” Meeks said. “You don’t think it can happen to you, but it can just as easily. In any case, if lives are being lost then we need to do something about it.”
Correction: an earlier version of this article mislabelled the titles of the rally coordinators.