Taking a stand against gun violence

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by Ferenc Somogyi ’21

“We are here today to build consensus,” proclaimed Dillion Gallagher ’19, Junior Class President and co-organizer of the Saint Ignatius gun violence protest, on Friday, February 23. The protest was Ignatius students’ response to the recent Parkland High School shooting tragedy and the resulting political movements on the local, regional, and national levels. Through our protest, Saint Ignatius men answered their call by acting and planning for the future to stop school shootings, functioning on a similar agenda to other bold high schoolers around the U.S. now advocating to end gun violence. The protest strongly encouraged brotherhood that surpasses political boundaries and opens the doors for wholehearted cooperation.

The gun violence protest (organized by Dillion, Sam Evans ’18, and Mr. Pacetti), which had been announced only a few days earlier, was held in the Atrium after school. The turnout was impressive given the short notice of the event and its inconvenient placement. “This is actually really reassuring,” Dillion said on Friday afternoon. It truly showed that Ignatius students want to make the world a better place, no matter the effort it takes.
Functioning as both a visible sign of Saint Ignatius’ commitment against gun violence as well as “planning ground” for future ways in which the school can make a difference, the protest effectively served a dual purpose.

“At the end of the day, you’re going to get more done if you work with people with different ideas.”

Dillion Gallagher ’19

Various anti-gun violence activist movements that Saint Ignatius students plan to take part in were discussed. The protest organizers outlined three main goals for their movement: education, activism, and advocacy. Ideas brought to the table included an Ignatius prayer and activism day on March 14th, a Columbine High School shooting anniversary commemorative event, attendance at the March for our Lives march in Washington D.C. and Cleveland on March 24th, and communication via phone and email with congressmen, government officials from both major political parties, and families of gun violence victims.
Additionally, the meeting gave students in attendance the opportunity to speak their minds about the recent gun violence-related events in our country. Boldly putting aside political standings, freshman to seniors and even some faculty and school-affiliated adults took the floor, calling for innovative endeavors and, above all, cooperation.

“At the end of the day, you’re going to get more done if you work with people with different ideas,” Dillion remarked.

Clearly stated by the protest organizers was the challenge of this Ignatius movement. Keeping the discussion about gun violence going over time will be an issue to surmount. However, the school and the protest organizers firmly believe in students’ abilities to make this journey a meaningful one – so much so that students in attendance at the protest could sign up for leadership positions in the movement’s coming programs if they wished. Recently, an email with the same sign-up opportunities was sent out to the entire school in case anyone else wanted to take the lead.

This movement is solidly a student-driven one and depends on Ignatius men’s commitment to get things done.

We live in an era of turmoil. Aside from political divisions, events like school shootings test our nation and our world, and shake us out of inaction. We must always strive to unite, and together to defend our Christian and American ideals, so that we can do what needs to be done to prevent such evils from ever happening again.

As proclaimed so eloquently by Mr. Wilhelm at the protest, “If not now, when? And if not us, who?”

Contact Mr. Pacetti, Dillion Gallagher ’19, or Sam Evans ’18 to get involved and make a difference. Look for the recent sign-up email if you want to take a leadership role in the movement.

This episode of PodCats includes excerpts from the February 23rd meeting.