By Caitlin Shannon
Enough is enough. At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14, students all over the country walked out of class to demonstrate that enough is enough when it comes to gun violence, and Drew students were no different. As the Brothers College bell tower rang, students, faculty and staff from all three schools gathered on the steps of Mead Hall to demonstrate.
The event began with the Youth Empower sector of the Women’s March in collaboration with the student-survivors-turned-gun-control activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The goal of the walkout, as stated on the Women’s March website, is “to protest Congress’ refusal to take action on the gun violence epidemic plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”
Although a walkout can take many forms, here in the Forest it took the form of a rally. Starting promptly at 10 a.m. the program began with opening remarks from one of the event’s organizers, Dorian Crimmins (’19). Crimmins was followed by Professor of Music, Trevor Weston, who read Lucille Clifton’s poem “Sorrow Song” and then shared his thoughts around resistance and activism, saying, “In many cases in this country it’s always been the children who have urged us to do the right thing.” More students began to gather as Brinna Kolitz (T‘21) and Ryan Pitt (T‘21), first-year Master of Divinity students, took to the podium to speak.
Following the speeches, Sarah Galo (T‘21), another first-year M.Div student, lead the crowd in a litany. “Help us rise above our dread that nothing can be done and grant us the conviction to advocate for change,” said Galo, to which the crowd responded, “Make us instruments of peace.” Director of the CRCC Jonathan Golden then took the podium to share an original song written after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.
Caitlin Shannon (’19), another one of the student organizers of the walkout, then took the stage to share a reading adapted from the now-famous speech by Emma Gonzalez. The Pan-African Choir, under the direction of Associate Professor of Church Music Mark Miller, sang Miller’s prayer chant We Resist. Soon the crowd joined in singing, “We resist, we refuse to let hatred in, we rise up, we won’t back down, we’re in this ‘til the end.”
The event ended with the opportunity for those in attendance to write their thoughts and hopes for the future on a banner. The banner will be hung in the Ehinger Center as a reminder to constantly fight for common-sense gun laws. Many students attending the event left feeling inspired, including Talia Smith (’19), who was particularly moved by “how far we are willing to go to make our voices heard.”
In order to ensure that student voices are heard, Drew will be organizing a trip to the Morristown March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 24. The event will include time to make signs as well as opportunities to meet with local elected officials and make it clear to the local community that Drew has said enough is enough to gun violence.