UChicago students join Chicago gun violence vigil

By Jennifer Standish

Students from the UChicago branch of Organizing for Action (OFA)—a continuation of the national coalition which worked to re-elect President Obama—showed their support for Senate Bill 649, the Safe Schools, Safe Communities Act of 2013, by attending a gun violence vigil organized by the Illinois chapter of the organization at Federal Plaza Saturday evening.

At the vigil, various speakers, including CPD officer Kevin Kilmer and a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting, Garrett Evans, shared their thoughts on the issue to the crowd of approximately 100 gun control supporters.

Evans said that the best thing for students to do, other than contact their state legislatures, is to create conversation about the issue.

“Talk about it because this is a problem that affects black, white, asian—everybody. This happens in neighborhoods you never would have thought [of],” he said in an interview with the Maroon after he spoke to the crowd.

“I think gun violence is a huge issue and anything college students can do is huge. So I thought I would come down [to show support],” said first-year UChicago OFA member Sarah Landes.

According to Eve Zuckerman, a second-year member of UChicago OFA who plans to spearhead the group’s gun control campaign, this is the beginning of a longer fight.

“The first thing we need is to inform students to make sure they have access to the information on the issue,” she said. “Hopefully once we bring that information to students…and establish partnerships [with other campus organizations]…OFA can be the link to students and community members.”

In the future, Zuckerman plans to step up the group’s actions to promote gun control, potentially including a UChicago gun violence vigil on the Midway, pressing legislatures to support gun control laws, and reaching out to campus and community leaders.

“I hope this could also be an opportunity for UChicago students to show support for the greater South Side and to finally cross the midway…its literally happening two blocks away…its not happening to you until it is.”