Students from Evelyn Serrano's Arts and Community Engagement class watch over their productions on the topic of gun violence. Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

CalArts students campaign to prevent gun violence

As the passionate conversation on gun control continues around the country, CalArts students have launched a new campaign in an effort to illustrate the ways in which gun violence shapes the daily lives of millions in the U.S.

“Silence Supports Violence” is a new campaign developed by CalArts students which offers personal stories of gun violence, as well as their research, concerns and a call to action to promote change on state and federal gun laws.

“We desire a world where the dollar isn’t worth more than a student’s life,” the campaign’s website reads. “We want to see real change and need you in order to change federal and state laws immediately.”

The students of Evelyn Serrano’s Arts and Community Engagement class in the School of Theater organized the campaign the morning after the Parkland shooting, according to officials. The group had spent weeks developing projects pertaining to another topic.

“Someone suggested, ‘Do you guys want to work on reducing gun violence?’,” student Bri Patillo said, “and we all unanimously agreed to throw our week-long work out the window and start as a whole class on this new idea.”

Students shot three collective videos that illustrated how members of their class have been affected by gun violence. Actions against family members, loved ones and friends were shared by the group, who said they understand how daunting the task of changing federal gun laws appears to be, but they believe it’s possible to win the “uphill battle.”

Students organized a call to action based on speaking one’s story, encouraging others to share their story and contacting regional representatives and state senators.

The group encouraged people to post a story online and tag it with the hashtag #speakyourstory.

The campaign includes a website, facebook page, blog posts and a collection of information that outline the ways to personalize the subject of gun violence when sharing information with organizations and legislators who have the power to invoke change.

Students are hoping to get multiple responses from people around the country and start a dialogue.

“It’s not about judgment, it’s really about inspiring people to share and raise their voices,” the student blog said. “It challenges us to creatively envision and collaboratively build a more just, inclusive, and safe future for all.”

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