Silence the Violence, a New Latin Organization


Margo Williams

Co-Editor in Chief

“Columbine means dove-like. It means peace.”

The Columbine High School massacre took place on April 20, 1999. Two weeks ago was the event’s 20th anniversary. As a highschooler with no connection to the tragedy which took place before I was born, it would feel wrong to try to provide an update on what the lives of those affected by the shooting are like now, how Columbine High School has changed, or what the community’s healing process has looked like. This information can be found elsewhere online. The attached video, however, is poignant and gives the floor to those directly impacted by the massacre, as it should be. It contains interviews of then-students, parents of the students who lost their lives, faculty who worked at Columbine High School, and others. Please note, if you find graphic descriptions of gun violence triggering, this video will be very hard to watch:

Instead of regurgitating information about Columbine from elsewhere online, this issue of the Forum feels like an appropriate time to announce a new organization at Latin which will seek to provide a space where students can talk about about guns and school safety. It’s called Silence the Violence.

The organization’s multilayered mission statement is “to facilitate conversations about guns and safety; to endeavor to raise awareness about gun violence in Chicago; to educate about nonviolent movements and strategies; and to inform students of the contents and consequences of numerous gun-control policies.”  

Latin students currently have no seat at the table when it comes to conversations about our safety, and there’s nowhere to talk through gun-policies, either. This organization will venture to fix that.

Its heads will be rising-seniors Maya Passman, Aoife Reynolds, and Dash Rierson, and here’s why they say Latin needs this club:

“We need it because we need to understand that gun violence isn’t about whether you are conservative or liberal it’s about going to school and feeling safe.” —Maya

“Through Silence the Violence, Latin students can understand how guns affect communities through suicide, homicide, mass shootings and household accidents. It is easy to label this issue as black or white. But in doing so, we ignore the many complexities and ultimately fail to come together to make our country a safer place.  We hope to make these difficult conversations easier through awareness and discussions focused on solutions.” —Aoife

“The pervasiveness of gun violence in America is a symptom of the stagnation of the conversation on how to prevent it. This organization will seek to open up the conversation at Latin, educating students on the policies that are effective in curbing gun violence. ” —Dash

Additionally, Sophia Matchett and Isabel Gortner are two freshmen who organized last year’s middle school walkout and care deeply about school safety. They have attended one of the organization’s planning meetings, and have already contributed valuable ideas for what it’s events could look like next year.

If you are interested in becoming involved in Silence the Violence (teachers too), please reach out to any of the three heads via email. It’s an important topic which all too often is discussed only when it’s too late.