Michigan State University students rally for gun reform, call for end of gun violence
EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Students at Michigan State University walked out of their classes on Wednesday, demanding action on gun safety and reform. The march was organized in response to the expected vote on red flag laws in the Michigan House of Representatives.
PHOTOS: MSU students stage walkout in support of gun reform
“No one on this campus has just been able to walk back into their classes in any kind of normal capacity,” said Belle Hoke, an MSU Student.
Since Feb. 13, 80 mass shootings have taken place in the U.S., according to Gun Violence Archive. That’s about 40 mass shootings each month since the mass shooting on MSU’s campus.
Wednesday’s rally on campus was about two hours long, starting at Berkey Hall and ending at the Sparty Statue. Berkey Hall is where two students were shot and killed Feb. 13. Memories of that night and the three lives lost motivated the students to keep fighting for gun reform.
“Change will come, it’s not just something you can easily give up on,” said Joseph Kesto, an MSU Student.
“It happens by people voting, it happens by people going to marches, and talking about things even when it’s really scary,” Hoke said.
About two months after the shooting on their campus, MSU students said the emotional toll is still heavy.
“There’s a lack of focus, between a lot of students,” said Maya Manuel, one of the MSU Students who helped organize. “We are the only voices we have at the moment, and we’re liable for our futures.”
“We all talk about how scared we are,” Hoke said.
The students who marched said there’s a sense of burnout, for more reasons than one.
“Emotionally, we’re all so exhausted,” Hoke said.
Despite the burnout and the upcoming final exams, students were determined to come out and demonstrate. They took inspiration from other communities impacted by mass shootings and drew hope from successes in other states.
“I think 250 bills at least that have been passed since Sandy Hook, and that’s just the start,” Kesto said. “We’re going to keep passing more and more to get what we want.”
During the march, students chanted the names of those lost to gun violence, hoping to see change at Michigan’s Capitol. Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action will be at the state Capitol on Thursday at noon, advocating for gun safety measures and celebrating the legislation already headed to the governor’s desk.
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