The Advocate

Students march for gun regulations

Junior+Kristy+Speranza%2C+freshman+Maddie+Brown+and+sophomore+Chris+Nichols+brought+signs+to+the+national+March+for+Our+Lives+last+Saturday.+
Junior Kristy Speranza, freshman Maddie Brown and sophomore Chris Nichols brought signs to the national March for Our Lives last Saturday.

Junior Kristy Speranza, freshman Maddie Brown and sophomore Chris Nichols brought signs to the national March for Our Lives last Saturday.

Angela Delfine

Angela Delfine

Junior Kristy Speranza, freshman Maddie Brown and sophomore Chris Nichols brought signs to the national March for Our Lives last Saturday.

Tyler McNulty, Editor-in-Chief

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Pitt-Johnstown College Democrats participated Saturday in the March for Our Lives in Washington.

According to College Democrats adviser Patrick Belk, members didn’t originally plan to go to the nation’s capital this semester.

“Before the events in Parkland, Florida, which subsequently led to the organization of March for Our Lives, we had actually planned on going to Philadelphia,” Belk said.

College Democrats President Molly Verostick said going to the march made sense.

“As a club, we are upset and frustrated by the fact that nothing has been done to stop these shootings,” Verostick said.

She also said any Pitt-Johnstown student interested in going was able to sign up.

Verostick said she thinks a lot of people are afraid to make their opinions known.

“Every opinion is valuable. When a protest, specifically a peaceful protest, occurs, it allows many with the same beliefs and opinions to be heard.

“For example, they are estimating about 500,000 people will attend, and that’s just in D.C., this does not include the (sibling) marches,” Verostick said.

According to the march’s website, 844 sibling marches taking place throughout the country.

“March for Our Lives is a student-led movement to end gun violence in our country,” the website states.

The march occurred more than a month after the Feb. 24 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed, and is sponsored by Never Again movement members and Everytown for Gun Safety members.

Through the march, Belk said he hopes a greater prioritization is put on students’ lives and safety.

Organizers raised money for the march through donations to the March for Our Lives Action Fund, according to the website.

Through a GoFundMe campaign, organizers raised more than $3 million as of March 22.

Half of that money is to cover the march’s expenses and the other half to Parkland shooting victims’ families.

Belk said he agreed to be one of the trip’s chaperones because he said he’s a supporter of the organization.

“I was happy to be asked to participate,” Belk said.

Verostick said one of the things she is looking forward to is the feeling the march will bring.

“When I attended the Women’s March on Washington, I felt as though there was hope. I am hoping to go and feel that same type of hope again,” she said.

Verostick said she’s marching again because she wants change.

“I take no shame in stating that there needs to be changes in laws and regulations regarding gun ownership.

“This country needs change, and those who are marching are marching because they want to make it known that there (are) a lot of angry people who demand those changes,” she said.

One of the things Belk said he is most looking forward to is the sense of community.

“Hundreds of thousands of people will be coming together in the same physical space in order to speak as, essentially, one voice,” Belk said.

He also said is he for the march.

“Gun violence is out of control in this country, and the government’s inaction on this issue is frankly shocking to me,” Belk said.

Belk said that the movement is trying to do something about the issue, which he said reaffirms his faith in the future.

“These young people are on the right side of history,” he said.

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Students march for gun regulations