UPDATED: Fort Wayne students plan second rally calling for end to gun violence
Fort Wayne students plan to continue their call for elected leaders to prevent gun violence and school shootings in America.
The group Fort Wayne Students Demand Action to Prevent Gun Violence will hold a rally from 2 to 4 p.m. March 24 on the Allen County Courthouse green. The event will take place in solidarity with the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., said Brandon Blumenherst, an IPFW student who is helping organize the event.
“The main reason we want to keep doing events is to keep the issue in the news,” Blumenherst said, saying students hope their efforts will get state and federal legislators’ attention and prompt them to act to prevent gun violence.
Local organizers hope to make the local March 24 event bigger than their first rally this past Sunday, which attracted an estimated 500 people to the courthouse green in cold, windy weather.
“A lot of people who went thought it was an impressive speaker lineup,” said Blumenherst, who was the main organizer for last Sunday’s rally.
For the March 24 rally, organizers really want to boost student participation, he said. They are reaching out to invite students from five to 10 colleges and high schools in the Fort Wayne area.
There also is a lot of talk on local college and high school campuses about the national school walkout proposed for March 14, Blumenherst said. The network that organized the Women’s March in Washington has called for students nationwide to hold a 17-minute walkout from school at 10 a.m. March 14 — one minute for each of the 17 people killed in the Feb. 14 Parkland, Fla., school shooting.
Students are talking about how to have some observance on March 14, whether it be a walkout or some other activity, Blumenherst said.
The social media accounts @snider_walkout on Twitter and @snider_walkout_2018 on Instagram report students at Snider High School in Fort Wayne will walk out of class for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. March 14. There also is discussion about taking part in a possible nationwide school walkout on April 20, the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colo.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling has been surveying member colleges and universities to see how they will view gun control or other activism by students during the college admissions process.
So far, seven Indiana colleges have responded to the survey, with all saying they support students’ desire to take part in peaceful protests and to exercise their right of freedom of speech.
The colleges include:
• Butler University
• DePauw University
• Hanover College
• Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
• Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
• Manchester University
• Purdue University
• St. Mary’s College (Notre Dame, Ind.)
• University of Saint Francis
To see the full list, go to https://www.nacacnet.org/news–publications/college-and-university-update-on-disciplinary-actions/.