People from around Erie County will gather to listen to students of all ages as they voice their opinions about gun violence Saturday in collaboration with the March for Our Lives event in Washington.
March for Our Lives is an organization created by a group of students from all over America; it was started after the Parkland (Fla.)High School shooting. According to its website, MarchforOurLives.com, the organization’s mission is to create a safer school environment for students and teachers.
Keystone Progress Erie, a local progressive organization, will be hosting the local event at Perry Square from 10 a.m. to noon.
Alayna Gallagher Getchell, the Keystone Progress Erie president, said the Erie community is invited to listen to students express themselves in a variety of ways. She said some of the students will be using poetry and music to convey their feelings and opinions on the recent spike in gun violence in American schools.
“The students don’t want to die, and no one is listening,” Gallagher Getchell said. “When you aren’t heard, you have no choice but to start a movement. Money and votes aren’t in their corner, so they have to go about it the grassroots way.”
Thomas Boyd, a freshman political science major at Gannon, said he thinks that students always have the right to protest and voice their opinions for change.
“I believe you should speak up because in a lot of countries you can’t,” Boyd said. “If you truly feel strongly about something, then you should definitely do it.”
Skylar Alloway, a senior at Erie High School, said she intends to attend March for Our Lives because “I want to make a difference.”
“I am so tired of seeing schools being riddled by gunfire,” Alloway said. “I want people to listen; I want them to know that our opinions matter.”
Alloway said she learned about March for Our Lives when she was helping her fellow classmates plan to participate in the national student walkout on March 14.
“I encouraged many students to attend the March and I hope to see many familiar faces,” Alloway said. “They want safer schools; they don’t want classmates or other students across the country living in fear.”
Multiple Gannon students reported that they felt safe on Gannon’s campus, but the issue of safety continues to weigh on several of their minds.
“Shootings and violence can happen anywhere really,” Boyd said. “I don’t feel overwhelmingly safe, but I feel as safe at Gannon as I would at most places. It’s always something that is — sadly — in my mind; ‘If this happens, how am I going to get out?’”