On a cold, windy, and snowy Wednesday afternoon, a number of students and faculty members gathered in the Essex quad to speak out against gun violence. We stood in solidarity with thousands of other students across the country to honor the victims of mass shootings, particularly the recent one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Here’s a compilation of clips from the walkout: (It’s a little shaky and sniffly, but like I said… it was freakin cold.)

TBH, this is completely ridiculous and extremely sad. I can’t believe we’re at a time where school protocols include teaching kids to run, hide, fight. What’s even more ridiculous and sad to me are the number of people who have died from mass shootings across the country.

I genuinely believe that these mass shootings are result of many interconnected social and political issues that persist in our country. One factor that was pointed out during the walkout is gender. MOST MASS SHOOTERS ARE MEN (surprise!).

Dr. Amy Pucino, a sociology professor aka my fave, said “We all know beautiful men. But we also know that here in the U.S., boys and girls are socialized differently.” (Really? They are?! I don’t see that at all! I’m kidding.) She added, “What do we teach boys and girls about violence? What do we allow for boys and girls to have access to in terms of community? Which groups are more socially isolated than others? We need to ask ourselves questions about how we treat young people based on gender.”

We all know what Dr. Pucino is talking about. Some will deny it a million times but children in our country are raised differently based on gender (giving girls dolls and boys toy guns, telling girls that getting hit by a boy means they have a crush on her, teaching boys that to “be a man” is to be strong and dominating, etc.). Combining that with other factors like ***cough gun control policy cough cough*** has led us to where we are today – learning how to run, hide, fight as we learn about yet another man shooting people using a weapon that belongs in war zones…. not in schools, not in homes, not in communities.

UGGGGH. It hurts. It hurts my heart and it makes me really angry talking about it. It also leaves me feeling hopeless because there are so many issues and powerful players involved in the problem of gun violence that I often find myself lost.

I feel like a speck of dust floating around, cold and sniffly, wondering where to float next, where to begin to tackle the issue, and how to end this blog post. I know one thing: I can’t just stand around and do nothing anymore. I’ve had #ENOUGH.


PS: questions, concerns, criticisms, invitations, and love are welcomed in the comments below.