Display brings awareness to gun violence victims

By The Daily Illini staff report

In 2018, FBI data reported there have already been 65 school shootings. Amnesty International at the University decided it was necessary for students to work toward a change.

Amnesty International UIUC, a grassroots organization dedicated to preventing human rights abuse, promoted its #EndGunViolence campaign through a symbolic protest Thursday on the Main Quad, which started at 9 a.m.

Domingo Casanova, social media director of Amnesty International UIUC, junior in Media and Illini Media employee, said the organization planted roses across the Quad to symbolize the victims who died in Illinois in 2016.

“Each flower will represent every five victims,” Casanova said. “We’re trying to make people see how many people are dying in Illinois to gun violence.”

Emily-Nicole Pease, sophomore in Business, said the display on the Main Quad caught her eye and gave her goosebumps.

“I think the way they’re approaching it is productive. Not only does it catch your eye, it also isn’t obtrusive or tacky,” Pease said.

She said the presentation was a respectful and tactful way to represent the issue of gun violence.

During the protest, attendees had the opportunity to put their name down on a letter about signing a legislation to improve background checks for unregulated firearm dealers and further prevent guns coming in from Indiana and other states neighboring Illinois, Casanova said.

Griselda Escobedo, co-president of Amnesty International UIUC and junior in Education, said students have a good voice in the community.

“I think our students really have the voice to raise awareness about this issue, and make politicians listen to us, because we are our constituency, we have the right to share our opinion, and they are required to hear us out and learn from us,” Escobedo said.

She said over 47,000 people have been shot in the United States in 2017, which is almost the size of the campus and the equivalent of having a mass shooting every week for a semester.

Elizabeth Kepner, co-president of Amnesty International UIUC, states their organization is expecting some members to take action in Springfield.

“So actually our group is planning to send a couple of members to Springfield and redo the event which will be really exciting,” Kepner said.

Ahlam Khatib, sophomore in LAS, said this generation should be informed to make good decisions because it is the future.

This campaign is currently the only event the organization has hosted that aims to encourage ending gun violence.

“We just want to make sure that people know about this, and promote it as much as they can so that we can get as many eyes on this as possible,” Casanova said.

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