On February 8, 2021, Berkeley High School’s (BHS) Associated Student Body (ASB) voted to pass a resolution that will recognize National Gun Violence Survivors Week. The resolution was presented to ASB by BHS Students Demand Action (BHSDA), and will go into effect next school year.
BHSDA is a local chapter of Students Demand Action, a national organization that was created to advocate for an end to gun violence and increased gun control regulation across the United States. As one of Students Demand Action’s original chapters, BHSDA works to educate students and the Berkeley community on solutions to gun violence. It is open to all BHS students, and includes a mix of members from all grade levels.
National Gun Violence Survivors Week occurs annually in the first week of February, which is meant to signify the approximate point at which US gun-related deaths surpass the number of gun-related deaths in peer countries in an entire calendar year.
“The week aims to honor and uplift survivors of gun violence and their stories,” BHSDA co-president Clare Corson said. “It’s also an opportunity to remind people of just how prevalent the issue of gun violence is in the United States.”
Corson added that, by highlighting the disproportionate number of gun-related deaths in the United States, the week acts as an illustration of why stricter national and local gun control measures are needed.
BHSDA also hopes to institute plans for “Advocacy Day,” an annual event during which Students Demand Action and Moms Demand Action (a similar gun control advocacy group made up of parents) would join together to lobby elected officials to enact gun control legislation.
“Gun violence is an issue that affects people of all ages, from all communities,” BHSDA co-president Zoe Tseng said. “Mass school shootings are how many students hear about and get involved in tackling this issue, and it’s what brought me to BHSDA as well.”
According to Tseng, BHSDA also hopes to expand public understanding of gun violence beyond mass shootings, highlighting the other forms it can take. Tseng referenced suicide and domestic violence as additional avenues for gun violence, adding that gun control legislation often overlooks those less-publicized areas.
Corson and Tseng believe that, if enacted, President Biden’s national gun control plan will have a significant, positive impact on reducing gun violence in the US.
“On a more local level, California has a pretty strong set of gun control legislation,” Corson said. “There’s still room for improvement, which is why we need further action like a state-wide Advocacy Day.”
Disclaimer: Zoe Tseng is an illustrator on the Jacket staff.