Our Voices

On February 28, students and administration discussed how to move forward as a school community.

A+poster+in+the+link+reading+%E2%80%9CWe+Will+End+Gun+Violence.%E2%80%9D%0ACourtesy+of+Elizabeth+Karlos+%E2%80%9819.

A poster in the link reading “We Will End Gun Violence.” Courtesy of Elizabeth Karlos ‘19.

Margaret Fleming and Elizabeth Karlos

On February 23, the Ignatius community received an email from Father Lukas Laniauskas, SJ, inviting all to a discussion of the shooting in Parkland, Florida and our response as a school. The open forum was to be held on February 28 in the McLaughlin Theater during the entire lunch block.

Students discussed the idea of directly conversing with the administration. Through conversations at home, in classrooms, and among one another, students prepared their thoughts and came ready to share and listen.

The discussion allowed students to express ideas, opinions, personal stories, and ways to move forward to Father Laniauskas and Principal Latko, as well as Student Body President Mac Khoury. Popular topics of conversation included political advocacy, the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., the potential March 14 walkout, and ending gun violence in Chicago.

Father Laniauskas, Principal Latko, and Mac Khoury discussed their open-door policies, inviting all to speak with them about our community’s response to gun violence.

Read below the voices of students from the discussion:

“Gun violence is a right to life issue” -Junior Delaney Coyne.

“I think what makes it different than other shooting is that kids are united this time. It’s enough for the thoughts and prayers. After this shooting, I think a lot of kids started to realize can really happen anywhere, and it can even happen in our school” -Junior Katie Vogel.

Senior Mac Khoury reinforced throughout the session that this movement is about the students and lifting our voices- not the administration, but the teens themselves.

“As a nation we need to come together and discuss the best possible options to keep us students safe” -Sophomore Maya Gregoire.

“So often there are mass shootings where we just feel helpless, but for the first time we have a real opportunity to cause change. We can’t let this fervor to be a part of the solution die out because we don’t know if we’ll ever have this chance again. Gun violence affects all of us, whether it’s directly or indirectly. We all have a responsibility as Americans to actively take part in finding a solution, so we can defend the people who the country hasn’t defended in the past”-Junior Max Wink.

“If we are really to live up to our value of being committed to justice, we have to do more. Every great change in this country has come from people who protested, but then mobilized to create a change. 10% of the 115th Congress attended a Jesuit college or university for some form of post-secondary education, and so they have our shared values of Jesuit education, and I think that it would be impactful to have Ignatius students reach out to them, through phone banking and letter writing campaigns, to demand a change on the federal level, and do the same for members of the Illinois legislature. Thoughts and prayers are great, but to have a real impact, they have to be followed by policy and action” -Junior Anne Austin.

“Another massive problem is…politicians that claim to want to help the American people…sit there and say [they] will make sure this will never happen again and…will pass legislation to stop people from getting guns yet they pocket money from the NRA” -Junior Arturo Reyes.

“The Parkland shooting is a horrible national tragedy, it should serve a purpose however, as to why the need for stricter gun control laws in the United States need to be revamped and updated to fit with the growing consumer market for automatic weapons” -Sophomore Miguel Cisneros.

“There are many solutions to reducing possible gun violence in America, but taking them away from law-abiding citizens or banning firearms sales completely are not some of them” -Junior Marcin Malysa.

Junior Serena White emphasized making reflections personal, as one often remembers the number of victims and not the people who were killed.

“Without a doubt, it’s frightening to think that we could just as well have been those students in Parkland – forced to choose between praying and screaming, between crying and running, at the shot of a gun. As a community, what we can and should do is move forward together, taking a stand against gun violence and making sure that no parent, teammate, or friend ever has to go endure the loss of their companion in such a horrific manner again” -Senior Maya Nagarkatte.

As the Ignatius community continues to form its response to the Parkland shooting, students will surely keep on advocating and lifting our voices, dedicated to make a change and protect all lives.