UNM students join walkouts protesting gun violence - Albuquerque Journal

UNM students join walkouts protesting gun violence

Amanda Getchell, an Albuquerque woman who was at the Las Vegas, Nev., concert last fall when a shooter killed 58 people, shared her story during a walkout at the University of New Mexico on Friday. (Jessica Dyer/Albuquerque Journal)

Local college students participated in Friday‘s walkouts commemorating the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.

About 30 people attended a walkout at the University of New Mexico’s Johnson Field on Friday morning. (Jessica Dyer/Albuquerque Journal)

About 30 people stood on a windswept Johnson Field at the University of New Mexico, where they heard from gun violence survivors and Elizabeth Kistin Keller, wife of Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller.

UNM sophomore Ben Lopez, one of the event’s organizers, said he initially felt “powerless and ignored” in the wake of February’s mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school, but was inspired by the ensuing youth-driven activism across the country.

“We are the voices of change and of progress and of safety, and we are the ones marching for our lives and walking out. And we have more power than we can possibly imagine,” he told the crowd.

He encouraged students to make their voices heard through voting, a sentiment echoed by speaker Amanda Getchell. The Albuquerque woman detailed her personal experience running for her life as a shooter killed 58 people during a concert last October in Las Vegas, Nev. She recalled how the incident dominated the national conversation for about a week but seemed forgotten shortly thereafter.

“It was just kind of halted and that really hurt; I didn’t know what to do,” Getchell said, adding that now people are “finally listening again.”
“It’s because of you guys and because of all these young people coming together and really listening.

“I will never forget; I was there (during a mass shooting). It takes people who weren’t there to never forget as well.”

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