The Evanstonian

Congresswoman Schakowsky visits ETHS to discuss gun reform

Jan+Schakowsky+speaks+in+the+Hub+on+Friday%2C+April+6.
Jan Schakowsky speaks in the Hub on Friday, April 6.

Jan Schakowsky speaks in the Hub on Friday, April 6.

Jonah Charlton

Jonah Charlton

Jan Schakowsky speaks in the Hub on Friday, April 6.

Cam Mulvihill and Mac Stone

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After receiving hundreds of phone calls from students during the March 14 walkout, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky visited ETHS last Friday to speak on gun control and the importance of high school students becoming involved.

“The difference is that [high school students], who are now a part of a vulnerable group, have taken the lead on this,” Schakowsky said to a crowded Hub. “That’s something I’ve always dreamed of seeing. Your leadership will make a difference.”

One of Schakowsky’s main talking points was how to bring down the NRA and reduce the power that the NRA has.

“We’ve had these mass shootings at Columbine and these daily shootings in Chicago, yet the NRA has been completely dominant,” Schakowsky said. “The NRA has had all of the power in Congress.”

Schakowsky also said that “because of high schoolers around the country, the NRA has met its match.”

The barrage of phone calls to Schakowsky’s office prompted them to reach out to the high school to come speak.

“Often times there’s a distance that’s created between people in office and young people because students often don’t have the opportunity to engage one-on-one with their congressperson,” said history teacher Michael Pond. “To have a federal official come and do that…it will be impactful and meaningful.”

After her speech, Schakowsky opened up a short time period for questions, in which she addressed keeping Evanston and the Chicagoland area safe and the violence and abuse of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Students were then invited to move to tables where they could engage in small group discussion with others.

“In the small breakout, [students] worked on specific issues,” History & Social Studies Department Chair Nicole Parker said. “Maybe out of that comes a suggestion for a policy or legislation that they could give to the Congresswoman.”

Many involved with the planning of the event have high hopes for the outcome.

“I think the event really made people feel like we had someone on our side and that our voice as a student body was being heard,” senior Brooklyn Love, who helped organize the event with Student Senate, said. “It also allowed people to start brainstorming and thinking of potential solutions to the problems that many people have been facing.”

Congresswoman Schakowsky had a message for students when the event was coming to a close.

“When I look around this room and listen to the discussions occurring, it reinforces my view that what is happening in this high school student movement is a game changer,” Schakowsky said. “The most important takeaway from this event is that high school students know their power, because I’ve never seen anything like the movement that’s happening now.”

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Congresswoman Schakowsky visits ETHS to discuss gun reform