More than a month before the March for Our Lives was even a thought, Christine Maber recalls looking at her phone on Valentine’s Day 2018. That’s when she saw the news alert about a mass school shooting unfolding in Parkland, Florida.
Immediately, she felt compelled to do something.
“I just paused. It disgusted me, and I felt sick, but I knew that I couldn’t just stand around and not do anything,” said the aspiring school psychologist.
“Standing in Silence, Louder than Words”
Just over a month later, she joined more than a dozen Georgian Court University students at the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC. In the nation’s capital alone, the March 24 event drew upward of 200,000 advocates for gun safety and stricter gun laws—and those are the most conservative attendance estimates. Similar events around the country attracted thousands more.
Survivors from the Parkland shooting were among the most memorable speakers of the day, which also included high-profile celebrities and special performances. But that was beside the point, said Christine.
“I didn’t go because of Miley Cyrus or Demi Lovato; I went because I wanted to support our current student leaders. Joining Samantha Fuentes in singing Happy Birthday to Nicholas Dworet, one of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy, brought me to tears,” said Christine. “Standing in silence with March for Our Lives leader Emma Gonzalez was louder than words.”
“Hearing that students are filled with fear in places where they really shouldn’t be pushes me that much more to do everything I can to help our current student leaders open government officials eyes for safer gun laws.”
— GCU STUDENT CHRISTINE MABER
A Teachable Moment
GCU associate professor Brunella Bowditch, Ph.D., and GCU Dean of Students Amani Jennings helped organize the experience, one of many ways the university’s acts on its commitment to social justice.
Earlier in the academic year, Dr. Bowditch spent a week along the U.S.-Mexico border to meet leaders who advocate for refugees, and to better understand the intersection of immigration, poverty, violence, and politics.
Similarly, the March for Our Lives gave GCU students a chance to witness the power of advocacy for themselves.
“I am so proud of our university for taking part in this extremely important event which has been, and I believe will continue to be, a turning point in the fight for gun control,” said Daniel Ginchereau, a sophomore history and education major. The aspiring teacher said it was important for him to be there.
“Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, I think that, deep down, no one wants children to be slaughtered in schools,” he said. “Seeing Emma Gonzalez on stage was emotional and ignited a fire in me that will never be quelled.”
See more photos from the March for Our Lives at GCU’s Flickr page.