Students Demand Action

New organization petitions for National Gun Violence Survivor Week

Danny Grisanzio, Assistant News Editor

Earlier this week, Whitewater Student Government (WSG) approved the resolution presented by the new student organization Students Demand Action (SDA) of National Gun Violence Survivor Week, which will annually take place the week of Feb. 1 to Feb. 8. The goal of this proposition is to “honor and remember all victims and survivors of gun violence and uplift the resilient voices of survivors across the nation” (Resolution 1.27.20).

    “This bill is not an admonishment of gun owners. In fact, several members of our student government are gun owners. It simply reaffirms our commitment to the many thousands of people who have suffered from gun violence and its far-reaching impact,” said Speaker Davin Stavroplos. “I was proud to be a cosponsor on the bill, and I am proud that it is the first piece of legislation passed under my speakership.”

    SDA is an organization that is partnered with Every Town for Gun Safety, which is an organization that specializes in advocating for gun safety legislation and gun violence prevention. SDA, more specifically, is an organization in which students can promote positive change by learning about issues and how they can help.

“Students Demand Action was created to give students a platform to express their concerns regarding issues of gun safety.  Our generation is the future, and it’s extremely important for us to advocate for what we think is right,” said SDA Vice President Alissa Mautz. “Gun violence is an issue which affects a lot more people than we think. National Gun Violence Survivors Week is a great opportunity for us to show them our support and let them know that their experiences matter.​ Just letting someone know that you hear them can go a long way to help a person who is struggling.”

With the devastation of national gun violence becoming ever more the norm, it is quite difficult to conceptualize a world without constant violence, especially from a nationalistic standpoint. Groups like SDA look to solve this issue by performing better background checks, disarming domestic abusers, protecting communities and holding the gun industry accountable.

“Students Demand Action is not anti-second amendment or anti-gun owner. However, we do believe that we need to strengthen gun safety legislation,” said the president of SDA, Katie Vogt.

Vogt believes that everyone, including gun owners, should be part of normalizing the conversation about gun safety. Vogt and SDA are in full support of the ‘Be SMART for kids’ acronym, which is the process of informing children about guns, as well as partaking in safe practices and modeling safe gun behavior around children.

“To me personally, gun violence prevention is important to me because I am going to be a high school teacher. I do not want my students to live in fear of coming to school or going home at the end of the day,” said Vogt. “I believe that we need to take this issue seriously and start advocating for positive change.”

With a sweeping vote of twenty-to-one, it is clear that WSG is on board with not only helping prevent gun violence as a whole, but also helping the victims who suffer because of the violence.

If students want to learn more or be a part of the SDA organization, they can attend the organization’s first meeting on Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Hyland room 1303 or attend the tabling in correspondence with Active Minds on Feb. 5, 10-2 p.m. in the University Center. Students can also sign-up for SDA’s email list to get updates by emailing them at [email protected].