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(left to right) College freshman and Penn Against Gun Violence Advocacy Director Calvary Rogers, Brady Campaign President Dan Gross, College freshman and PAGV Executive Chair Natalie Breuel and College freshman and PAGV Vice Chair Madeline Freeman | Courtesy of Natalie Breuel

Last Thursday, College freshman Natalie Breuel’s hands shook as she walked onto the stage at a black tie charity gala for the anti-gun violence Brady Campaign. Looking into the audience at the Brady Center’s “Bear Awards” guests, she saw the faces of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, actor Paul Rudd and singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson among many others. She spoke about her own efforts to combat gun violence on Penn’s campus before introducing Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign.

Breuel was invited — along with her two co-founders, College freshmen Madeline Freeman and Calvary Rogers — by the campaign to introduce Gross after senior campaign officials caught wind of a previous Daily Pennsylvanian article covering the launch of her Penn Against Gun Violence club. Breuel founded the first single-issue anti-gun violence club at Penn after the UCC shooting and the unnamed Philadelphia college online gun threats earlier this semester.

The Brady campaign has launched a college-campus focused project dubbed Generation Lockdown, where they are sponsoring anti-gun violence groups on college campuses across the country. Breuel’s club has been sponsored by the Brady campaign since its founding through Regional Organizing Manager Kimberly Russell.

In Breuel’s introduction at the gala, she spoke about the club’s mission, aiming to “make student voices heard and make sure no student has to choose between their education and their safety.” The two-prong mission of the club is to bring awareness to the issue of gun violence within the Penn community and advocate for common-sense gun legislation.

On speaking in front of the large gala audience, Breuel said, “I actually love public speaking — I didn’t feel nervous when I was up there, and I felt so great afterwards.” She was able to network with many of the other anti-gun violence activists in attendance, which Breuel thinks will open up opportunities for speaker events and further growth for the club.

Clinton was honored at the rally for her leadership in fighting gun violence, receiving the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Leadership Award. “There are people too dangerous to be let on airplanes, but Congress won’t stop them from getting guns,” Clinton said. “We can do this from the grassroots, and I believe we can do it from the top down.”

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