UPDATE: Student leadership has withdrawn support for the April 20th walk out siting that the walk out was not initiated by students. Arwa Dubad has indicated that student leadership intends to organize a separate, independent event. The Ledger will report more details as they become available.
April 20, students, faculty, staff and members of the community will join forces to call to action Chancellor Mark Pagano, President of the University of Washington Ana Mari and Gov. Inslee to make changes to campus infrastructure, policies and procedures surrounding gun regulations and safety in a campus wide walk out.
UW Tacoma campus members who want to participate in this walkout should peacefully leave their classrooms and meet event organizers at the central steps of the UWT campus by noon.
#Nationalwalkout is a nationwide movement to make policy makers aware of the need and demand for stricter gun control measures and laws. The movement was created to honor those that have lost their lives due to gun violence in schools.
This nationwide walkout was specifically scheduled for April 20 because that is the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting — an infamous school shooting in U.S. history and the deadliest of its time.
The walkout coming to UWT was a joint movement on the campus, but was ultimately led by UWT junior Hanan Gumale.
“I wanted to involve people of color to the conversation,” Gumale said. “I realized just waiting and complaining about how our stories aren’t included in the conversation won’t solve anything. I saw a chance to take a leadership role and I took it. There are many people who are involved and donated their time like BSU, ASUWT, faculty, and I’m really thankful towards them. I don’t see myself as a leader in this rally but rather an ally of everyone who put so much time into this.”
Students who choose to meet for the rally should expect student speakers — student leaders and those who have been affected by gun violence themselves. There will also be six minutes of silence, which symbolizes the six minutes that the shooter was active at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
This student organized rally is supported by numerous faculty and staff members. Over 35 UWT professors have agreed to participate in this walkout, fully backing the movement and any student that chooses to exit the classroom.
“This issue also affects faculty and affects faculty safety,” Gumale said.
Walkout organizers and student leaders have been meeting every Friday since March 30 in the Mattress Factory room 103 during the lunch hour to discuss the demands they have for safety and security when it comes to guns on the UWT campus. This group has composed a list of demands that they want met in order to better secure the safety of students.
“I think you can call it a protest, but I feel like when you call it a protest it is kind of saying like they have the power … they don’t,” Gumale said. “We’re the students, and we have the power. So this isn’t really an asking — this is more of a demanding.”
This rally aims at calling the attention of members of the UW system to make change to create a safer and more protected campus, as well as start a conversation among all members of the UW community.
“We want [policy makers] to know that our safety should be their top priority and we have a list of demands that they should implement,” Gumale said. “We are hoping that they will be willing to hear each community and their specific needs. It is also a call to action for students and to mobilize their political power. School shootings shouldn’t be the norm and we shouldn’t normalize it or accept it. It is sad that we even have to demand to be at safe at school, but that’s just the reality of our generation.”
April Lai, Associated Students of UW Tacoma director of finance and UWT junior, has also assisted in organizing the walkout.
“We want students to know that as student leaders, there are people who care about them,” Lai said. “We’re not here to sit around and say we are student leaders, but we are actually going to take action and make the university better for them.”
Anyone who wants to get involved before the protest can attend a sign making party in the Dawghouse April 18 at 12:30 p.m., organized by the Black Student Union.
If you have any questions or want to get
involved contact Hanan Gumale at:
Sophia is a UWT senior double majoring in communication and arts, media, and culture with a minor in business administration. She is the director of the Little Gym of Puyallup and is a freelance writer for various local web and print magazines. Sophia enjoys spending time with her family, and friends and reading books.