Students across the nation have rallied for gun control in the wake of the February Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. In Rogers Park, high school students had a personal connection to the movement and rallied to support gun control April 20 — almost six months after the fatal shooting of a local teacher.
Students throughout the United States participated in school walkouts April 20 — 19 years after the Columbine High School shooting — for gun control. Some gun control incentives seek to strengthen the background-check system, prevent the sale of assault weapons and ensure only law-abiding citizens own guns.
Around 660 people were shot in Chicago so far this year, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Phoenix reported two shootings and three armed robberies near campus since Trevillion was shot.
The Rogers Park rally was led by students at the Chicago Waldorf School (1300 W. Loyola Ave.), half a mile from Loyola’s campus, and was organized by John Trevillion, a teacher at the school. His wife, Cynthia Trevillion, was the Chicago Waldorf School teacher fatally shot in October 2017.
Around 2 p.m., 150 people gathered along the 6900 block of North Glenwood Avenue. The road was blocked between Morse and Farewell avenues — the location where Cynthia Trevillion was killed. A majority of those in attendance were high school students from Sullivan High School (6631 N. Bosworth Ave.), the Chicago Waldorf School and the Chicago Academy for Math and Science (7212 N. Clark St.).
Some people carried posters and flyers, and others wore orange price tags for $1.05. The price tags visualized how much each Florida student would cost to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) based on his donations from the National Rifle Association.
Chance Schneider, 14, was one of the Chicago Waldorf School students who attended the rally. She said she wanted to show gun violence was an issue that doesn’t just affect victims.
“You never realize it’s real until it happens to you,” the first-year said. “There’s other people out there who haven’t experienced something like this, and they might not understand … [I’m] trying to bring awareness to everybody, making this everybody’s problem and not just the people involved or who are connected to it.”
Trevillion was the first speaker and discussed gun violence becoming normalized in the nation. He called for people to step up and create change.
He was followed by student speakers from each of the high schools. The students expressed frustration over the lack of action by politicians and the importance of voting to encourage change.
Justin Baynes, a senior from the Chicago Math and Science Academy, spoke and said he wanted to help unite the three schools represented — public, private and charter.
“If I can bring everyone together step by step then we can definitely press the issue that … the students are definitely worried, and the students are definitely trying to solve this issue,” the 18-year-old senior said.
Eileen Soderstrom, 71, has advocated for gun violence prevention since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. She spoke at the rally and also helped participants register to vote. She and other speakers emphasized voting and civic engagement to propel change.
“Many of these students are or will be 18 by the election in November,” she said. “We need them to register and come out and vote. I’m going to try to inspire them to say that [voting] is one of the most effective ways of getting better legislation to restrict the violence.”
Alderman Joe Moore of the 49th Ward spoke at the event and said he had hope in the power of young people in the movement for common sense gun reform. Although there were larger rallies in downtown Chicago and nationwide, Moore said having a small rally in Rogers Park is important since it encourages action among residents.
“All politics is local,” Moore said. “Change in this country comes from the bottom up, and that’s why it’s important that every community organize at the very local level.”
Soderstrom agreed, saying gun violence can happen anywhere.
“This is not some issue that happens ‘there,’” she said, “This happens here on our streets.”