Student organization fights against gun violence


March For Our Lives student protest for gun control / Fibonacci Blue / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Students and adults alike have been fighting for gun control since the rise of the March For Our Lives movement in 2018.

Gun violence has become a constant in American society. Plaguing schools and communities around the nation, it seems to be everywhere. However, the Sequoia Union High School District branch of March For Our Lives is fighting against gun violence locally.

The national March for Our Lives organization was founded in March 2018 in response to the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Since its founding, the national organization has branched into over 300 local chapters, each spreading the same message urging the United States to adopt stricter gun laws.

The March For Our Lives SUSHD’s mission is analogous to the national organization but aims to act on a more local level.

“We’re different in the sense that the national organization is heavy on legislation because they are such a powerful force. With the national organization, they have the contacts actually to influence legislation. However, our focus is more on grassroots activism,” said Christopher Kwok, one of March For Our Lives SUSHD’s co-presidents. 

With the national organization, they have the contacts actually to influence legislation. However, our focus is more on grassroots activism.

— Christopher Kwok

Although school shootings are not common in the Bay Area, March For Our Lives SUSHD is getting involved in the fight against gun violence through preventative measures.

“We are heavily involved in helping prevent school shootings through initiatives such as voter registration drives and also mental health resources,” Christopher Kwok said. 

March For Our Lives SUSHD was founded initially at Sequoia High School, but the chapter is looking to expand into the entire district to broaden its reach.

“We expanded it to a district-wide demonstration after witnessing the prevalence of the American gun epidemic spread through America. We transformed the school chapter to a district one trying to empower kids from across the district to advocate for change,” said Nicholas Kwok, another one of the organization’s co-presidents.

Meetings are usually held during lunch at Sequoia High School. Still, to accommodate the new expansion, the organization has had to adjust its practices by enacting district calls for all schools to attend. However, this does not mean that all schools work together on every activity.

“We recognize that school is our main chapter, and we do not really have all that much power over other groups. So what we tried to do is try to make each school group autonomous. We did this so that members outside were able to do their own activities and their own initiatives.” said Nicholas Lawrence, another co-president of March For Our Lives SUSHD.

Currently, March For Our Lives SUSHD is primarily comprised of Sequoia students. 

“We have reached out to other schools. Specifically, we have also been utilizing teachers to share the word. In particular, we found students from schools that were passionate about carrying out March For Our lives well within their community,” Nicholas Kwok said. “We have been focusing on mentoring and providing resources to them so they can lead the initiative because we recognize that the anti-gun violence movement is very community oriented.”