On March 24, 2018, 68 students and two Adelphi administrators boarded two buses to join the 200,000 students, teachers, parents and grandparents at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C.
Adelphi University sophomore Jada Fletcher presented the idea for Adelphi to attend the march. The Interfaith Center, International Student Services, Student Government Association (SGA) and Graduate Student Council provided support by underwriting the cost of two coach buses. Prior to the march, Adelphi held a week of events and programs to educate the campus about gun violence, posting information under the hashtag #Enough: Gun Violence.
“Of the 68 students, many were from around the globe,” said Kathleen Watchorn ’04, M.F.A. ’11, coordinator of programs and projects at Adelphi, “India, Pakistan, Ukraine, Vietnam, Korea, China and other countries. Domestic students hailed from as close as Long Island and down to Texas.”
Students held many posters, such as those bearing the words “Not One More” and “Guns Don’t Belong in Schools.” Our students marched in Adelphi T-shirts holding Adelphi posters that said, ‘We protect kids not guns.'”
Senior Gabrielle Briseño was inspired to draw portraits of all 17 victims of the Parkland shooting. She searched online to find photos to illustrate. “I wanted to capture their personalities, show how each person was an individual,” she said.
She and Watchorn were struck by how safe and peaceful the marchers were and how the residents of Washington, D.C., and police officers were supportive of the thousands of people in their midst and the cause that had brought them together.
Attendees made it clear that they wanted accountability from their elected officials. The importance of voter registration was evident at the rally as thousands were encouraged to use their vote as their voice. There were even opportunities at the rally for voter registration. Both Watchorn and Briseño said Adelphi students are voicing more interest in registering or obtaining absentee ballots.
“Our voices are meant to be heard and not silenced,” said sophomore Nikolina Zekanović. “We have the power to change the world around us. Today, the youth spoke up and made history and I am so thankful to be a part of that.”