University of Wisconsin-Madison students will join an anti-gun protest mounted by local high school students Wednesday to demonstrate solidarity in demanding political action, an organizer said.
Up to 200 college students are expected to gather at noon on Library Mall to hear speakers before marching up State Street to the Capitol to join the high school protesters, said Victoria Barrett of Keep Guns off the UW-Madison Campus.
“Young people want to do everything we can to engage with the government and get the protection we want from gun violence,” Barrett said.
Keep Guns off the UW-Madison Campus organized the march in response to the slaying of 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida, by a former student armed with a semi-automatic rifle. High school students from around the country are expected to participate in similar rallies, many walking out of their classrooms, on the one-month anniversary of the Florida killings.
The National Rifle Association has sued to prevent gun control measure passed in that state in response to the Parkland killings from taking effect.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker is working on a high school safety plan to be released within a week, according to a spokeswoman.
Meanwhile Tony Evers, state superintendent of schools and a UW System Regent, is calling on Walker to send $50 million to schools to improve security. Evers is seeking the Democratic nomination in the November gubernatorial election.
Students from Madison’s four high schools and at least one middle school are expected to participate Wednesday, along with those from high schools in Sun Prairie, Middleton, Verona and the Milwaukee area.
More than 1,000 Madison high school and college students packed the Capitol in 2015 to protest police violence after 19-year-old Tony Robinson was shot and killed by a Madison officer. UW-Madison students previously have protested against proposed co-called "campus carry" legislation that would have required that concealed guns be allowed in campus buildings.
Barrett said organizers in this round of gun violence protest are optimistic they can make a difference. “I see around the country that activists are being more appreciated. People know we are not willing to let government make decisions about our future with only their interests in mind.”
The rally on Library Mall will feature two UW-Madison students sharing their experiences with gun violence.