After Uvalde massacre, student-led protests against gun violence return Saturday, including in Eugene

By Brian Bull (KLCC)
June 10, 2022 4:32 p.m.
A crowd of students, many in orange shirts that say "March for Oure Lives" on them, march in a protest for tougher gun restrictions.

The March for Our Lives event in Eugene, on March 24, 2018.

Brian Bull / KLCC

This Saturday, students from across Eugene and Springfield will gather at the Wayne Morse federal courthouse to demand tougher gun restrictions and safer schools.

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The “March for Our Lives” rally echoes one held four years ago in Eugene, which was organized after the Parkland shooting in Florida. An estimated 5,000 people turned out.

This Saturday’s turnout will likely be smaller, given graduation ceremonies and other end-of-school activities for local districts. But organizers Piper Everts, Samantha Streisfeld, and Amelia Sydes of Spencer Butte Middle School, are hopeful their message will resonate.

“We want to show resistance to the NRA, and show that we are standing up for proper gun rights, so that we are safe as a country,” said Everts.

“The event on June 11 nationwide is really going to be a hopefully, actually, be a point to make changes,” added Streisfeld.

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“We live in Oregon and not Texas so it’s better here,” said Sydes. “But there was a (1998) shooting in Thurston, and we’ve had threats before, and it worries me, and it worries my classmates, too.”

Three eighth grade students embrace and smile at the camera while posing for a photo outside.

From left to right: 8th graders Amelia Sydes, Piper Everts, and Samantha Streisfeld, who are organizers with this year's March for Our Lives observance with Spencer Butte Middle School in Eugene.

Brian Bull / KLCC

Last month’s school violence at a grade school in Uvalde, Texas has prompted this latest observance of March for Our Lives. Two teachers and 19 young children were killed.

Despite horrific accounts of several children pulverized and decapitated by the firepower of the shooter’s AR-15, Congressional Republicans and the NRA have largely balked at suggested restrictions on firearms.

A U.S. House bill on some reforms has passed, but is not expected to get anywhere in the Senate. Meanwhile, senators are working through a bipartisan bill, which is expected to incentivize states to pass “red flag” laws, strengthen background checks, and allocate more funds towards school security and mental health.

Organizers for this weekend’s March for Our Lives event in Eugene say it will start at noon Saturday at the federal courthouse, and encourage all participants to wear orange.

Some of the organizers from the 2018 event are reportedly attending as well, including those who were present during the 1998 Thurston School Shooting in Springfield.

Related: 24 years after school shooting in Springfield, Oregon, wounded student’s life has taken on a remarkable trajectory

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