At 2 p.m. on Oct. 5, College freshman Natalie Breuel felt forced to choose between her education and her safety. Having missed her 2 p.m. class that day out of fear of getting shot during the hysteria over the online threat against an unnamed Philadelphia school, Breuel is now advocating for change.
“Why am I making the decision between my safety and my education?” Breuel said. “That’s not okay.”
Because of the shooting scare, Breuel realized the lack of advocacy and education on gun violence on campus. She was surprised to discover that there was no single-issue gun violence education and advocacy group at Penn, so she endeavored to found Penn Against Gun Violence.
Penn Against Gun Violence is an education and advocacy group led by Breuel and other undergraduates in an effort to bring awareness of gun safety to the student body. Since the group’s launch in November, it has garnered 120 likes on its Facebook page. In now has an executive board of 10 members and had 30 members at its first general body meeting.
The group’s mission is two-fold: to educate and bring awareness to gun violence issues and to advocate for gun safety legislation, mostly in Pennsylvania. They seek to bring in speakers and organize workshops to educate on topics of gun violence, and have already scheduled speaking events with Pennsylvania gun safety legislation advocate group CeaseFire PA, as well as with Penn professor Dr. Susan B. Sorenson, who has extensively studied violence prevention.
The group is involved in the nationwide gun safety campaign “Generation Lockdown,” affiliated with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which consists of college gun safety advocacy groups across the country that are working to educate their student bodies on gun safety. The group plans to continue holding weekly meetings to plan education and advocacy events. Their first speaker event is on Nov. 12, when Sorenson will speak in an event open to all members of the Penn community.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.