Earlier this year, thousands of high school students across the nation flooded out of their classrooms, chanting "Never again" in protest of gun violence across the United States. College freshman Michael Nevett, one of the organizers of the walkout in Washington D.C., is looking to continue the fight at Penn.
A native of Maryland, Nevett became involved in the national March for Our Lives demonstrations that followed the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Working with his high school classmates, he set up a system to house the out-of-state protestors who were piling into the District of Columbia area for the march.
“I’m here because I have to be,” Nevett told Time Magazine about his activism in October. “I’m here because people are dying … we as young people need to raise our voices. We as young people need to protest and march and organize, and we as young people need to vote.”
Following the march, Nevett planned a number of protests throughout this past spring and summer, including one in response to the Capital Gazette shooting in June. Furthermore, he has begun working with other students on campus to foment change at Penn.
He is currently collaborating with Penn Democrats and March for Our Lives Philadelphia, a grassroots organization that aims to spread awareness about gun violence in the city. Nevett added that he hopes to start a March for Our Lives Penn in the near future.
Nevett is not the only student engaged with these issues. College freshman Jay Falk, who worked with Nevett on gun control activism before coming to Penn, is also involved in March For Our Lives Philadelphia.
“One of the interesting things about the gun violence movement is that it's hard to keep up grassroots energy, and one of the ways to do that is coalition building,” Falk said. “It's really interesting coming to Philly and engaging with that.”
Ultimately, both Falk and Nevett believe they can use their time at Penn to better understand how to best prevent gun violence in the United States.
“I've met a lot of people [at Penn] whom I agree with on this issue … but I've also met a lot of people that see these solutions differently and argue for different solutions to limit gun violence,” Nevett said. “It's our job to be able to figure out what the best [solutions] are and make sure that they're actually implemented, which involves a lot of discussion."
"I try to focus on how I can keep this going in the future,” Nevett added.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.