Marquette Wire

Fight against gun violence continues after March for Our Lives

Demonstrators+advocate+for+stricter+gun+laws+and+legislation+at+the+2018+March+For+Our+Lives+in+Washington+DC.+Photo+via+Wikimedia+Commons.+
Demonstrators advocate for stricter gun laws and legislation at the 2018 March For Our Lives in Washington DC. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Demonstrators advocate for stricter gun laws and legislation at the 2018 March For Our Lives in Washington DC. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Demonstrators advocate for stricter gun laws and legislation at the 2018 March For Our Lives in Washington DC. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

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Linnea Stanton and Izzy Staton are determined to keep the momentum of anti-gun violence activism going following the March for Our Lives rally March 24.

Thousands marched for tighter gun control in downtown Milwaukee, alongside hundreds of thousands of other protesters in cities across the nation. But for Stanton and Staton, who were some of the primary organizers of the march, it’s just the beginning.

“I think this force that we have, this millennial, Gen Z force, has proven to be a lot stronger than any other force,” Staton, a freshman in the College of Communication, says. “When the Civil Rights Movement was led by students, that got through. So all these major protests and uprisings and areas of change have come from young people.”

While neither Stanton nor Staton have personally experienced gun violence, they say it’s a public safety issue that’s relevant to everyone. Staton says she never wants people to feel unsafe in public spaces, and the presence of guns exacerbates that lack of safety. She also says she wants to cut down on the number of domestic shootings.

“People are dying every day from gun violence,” Staton says at the “March for Our Lives.”

The pair are finalizing a nonprofit organization called We Call BS MKE that will focus its efforts to end gun violence and bring legislation to the table. The nonprofit is expected to begin operations in June 2018. Stanton, Staton and Marvell Reed, a sophomore at the Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education in north Milwaukee, will serve as co-presidents.

Stanton, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, says the nonprofit will also talk about other social justice issues through the lens of gun violence. She says gun violence is the focal point, but it’s such a complex issue that it can be branched out to include many other concerns.

“‘March for Our Lives’ is very specific to gun violence, which is great, but We Call BS opens us up to more doors of being able to talk about other issues,” Stanton says. “It allows us to talk about LGBTQ+ issues, Black Lives Matter issues. … Let’s talk about the fact that gun violence disproportionately impacts minority communities.”

Both Stanton and Staton want to focus on getting Marquette students involved in their nonprofit. They say it’s important to them for Marquette students to exercise their political rights, especially because the cause is still underground on a campus-wide level.

“We really want Marquette students to be a part of this,” Staton said. “I don’t think a lot of students really know what we’re doing. … I would honestly just love to talk to anyone here who is passionate about this or just wants to know what we’re doing or wants to be involved.”

As part of “March for Our Lives” and “We Call BS MKE,” Staton plans to bring voter registration tables to big summer events like Summerfest, the Pride Parade and Brewers games. She says voting is paramount to voicing an opinion on gun violence among other policy matters. Both she and Stanton reiterated that midterm elections are going to be a deciding factor in the future of gun culture and policy in the U.S.

Despite death threats in their social media inboxes, Stanton and Staton continue to press on.

“I don’t care if people have guns,” Stanton says. “I care that people are not using their guns to cause violence and havoc in their communities, and I care that people who should not have guns don’t have guns.”

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