By Cassie Ordonio and Mike Menaster
Special to The Guardsman
City College stood in solidarity for the National Walkout Day on March 14 to honor the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida.
On a national level, thousands of students gathered for the first time in protest against gun violence at 10 a.m. in every time zone.
Three City College campuses—Civic Center, Chinatown and Ocean—participated in a moment of silence for 17 minutes. One minute represented each life lost.
Approximately 250 people at Ocean Campus huddled around Ram Plaza as tears rained down the faces of some students and faculty.
“Gun control is one of the key issues that everyone keeps bringing up,” said Tameem Tutakhil, president of the Associated Student Council at Ocean Campus. “It’s time to put aside all of our differences and think about people who died in that situation are human beings. They’re only teenagers. They didn’t get to live their life. I would like to go to school with the feeling of being safe on campus.”
Students and faculty spoke out on the controversial issues of gun violence and the fear of safety on campus.
Lily Ann Villaraza, chair of City College’s Philippine Studies department, also acknowledged the 10 years and one month anniversary of the mass shooting at Northern Illinois University.
“It still impacts me,” Villaraza said. “I know there are students out there who experience this every single day. So, this is not just about school, this is not about being on this campus and being safe. It’s about taking it off the streets so that all of our communities, wherever they are, can feel safe.”
The Parkland shooting sparked students and youth across the country to pressure politicians to renew the debate over gun control. Florida legislators defied the National Rifle Association by passing a $400 million gun control and school safety bill on March 7 that will raise the age required to purchase a gun from 18 to 21.
At City College, Chancellor Mark Rocha is taking extra steps to assure campus safety. In a public statement on March 7 to the campus community, he called for active threat preparedness.
“We have formed the College Health and Safety Committee to review and make recommendations on updating our Emergency Preparedness Plan in all areas,” Rocha said in the statement. “In addition, the Board of Trustees has approved a new position, Emergency Preparedness Director, whose primary responsibility will be the implementation of safety and security measures. Some measures under current consideration include warning alarms, enhanced text alert systems, video cameras and expanded security at major entrance points to our campuses and centers. We are also in the process of hiring six additional police officers.”
In the Mission District, some 100 students from Buena Vista Horace Mann Community School marched down Valencia Street and past City College’s Mission Campus.
The protest was peaceful, as drivers passing by honked and waved at the students.
Assistant Principal Claudia del Rios guided the students who carried picket signs and chanted: “We want justice. We want peace.”