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Student speech at ‘die-in’ protest urges action

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Editor’s Note: Following is the text of a speech delivered by junior Clara Nuñez-Regueiro March 3 during a “die-in” protest downtown Ann Arbor.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was what promulgated the sit-in or the lie-in protest. The Chicano Student Walkouts of the 1960s were a factor in the spread of the now iconic student walkout protest. The AIDS crisis of the 1980s was what propagated what we now know as the die-in protest. Black Lives Matter has been avidly using the die-in protest from 2012 and beyond. The history books are bound to recognize the student gun control movements of the 2010s, but we owe it to our predecessors to acknowledge that we are but a part of the road they paved for us. The work of organizations such as the Brady Campaign or the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, to whom we owe such successes such as the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and further progress in the struggle for the control of firearms, set the foundation for what we are here today to do.

We are here to follow in the footsteps of giants in the effort for a safer society. We are tired of having to watch innocent victims die becaues of a system that enables their deaths at the hands of immoral gunmen. We are here because we demand action from our authorities, from our government, to ensure that the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting is the last school shooting. We are here because we are done with “thoughts and prayers” from complacent politicians who do not value a human life over the price of a firearm.

Many of us are not old enough to vote, but this does not mean that we will be silent. There are a multitude of actions that you can take to end the epidemic of gun violence. If you are at least six months short of turning 18, you can legally register and help put politicians in office who will actively work to create a safer country through the enforcement of gun control. No matter what your age is, you can always call or email your state representatives and push for their support. Contacting your representative makes much more of an impact than we are discouragingly led to believe in times like today.

You can use your body and your voice to make a difference by actively participating in rallies, protests, and so many more movements for change. We will not be silent, and we will never be placated with “thoughts and prayers.” We must hold those who are complicit in the facilitation of gun violence accountable, and we are responsible for creating the change that we want to see. We must never be content with complacency, and true influence and effect will begin only once we fight the threat of firearms in our schools and, by extent, in our society at large. We work with our youth leaders, such as the incredibly powerful Emma Gonzalez and “Never Again MSD,” to achieve the end of this gun violence epidemic. There is no way that we will stop until we never have another Columbine, another Sandy Hook, another Marjory Stoneman Douglas ever again.

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