Students organize to march against gun violence in Washington

The students have raised more than $7,000 in under a week.

James Farnsworth leads a meeting of Gophers to Washington D.C. in Coffman Union, Tuesday Feb. 27. Farnsworth started a fundraiser and is raising money for UMN students to participate in March for our Lives in Washington DC on March 24.

Carter Blochwitz

James Farnsworth leads a meeting of Gophers to Washington D.C. in Coffman Union, Tuesday Feb. 27. Farnsworth started a fundraiser and is raising money for UMN students to participate in March for our Lives in Washington DC on March 24.

Max Chao

Several University of Minnesota students are organizing to protest gun violence later this month in response to recent events that have led to a national discussion on gun regulations.

The group, using the name “Gophers to D.C.,” is currently raising money to travel to the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C.

The rally, set for March 24, was planned in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February, and organized in part by its survivors.  

University organization efforts are being led by sophomore James Farnsworth, who was inspired to act after hearing about a group of students from nearby Henry Sibley High School who are raising money to attend the march. 

“I think it’s essential that we stick with our peers from Parkland, Florida in their efforts to really say, ‘Never again,’” Farnsworth said. “It’s time for youth voices to take over the conversation and make some change.”

As of Wednesday, the group has raised more than $7,000 to cover travel expenses. 

The group hopes to start taking student applications Friday, but around a dozen students met Tuesday night to begin planning transportation and financial logistics.

“For me, like quite a few people at this point, it was kind of the last straw with what happened in Florida,” said junior Winona Johnson. “Something needs to happen quickly, and we have a really powerful voice as young people.” 

Several University faculty members have offered their financial help and support in spreading awareness about the cause to their students.

University educational psychology professor Rose Vukovic said she is supporting the movement because it is youth-led.

“That’s what I love about it, that’s what feels energizing about it, that’s what feels different about it to me,” Vukovic said.

Several local politicians, including Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis and Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis have supported the effort by sharing the fundraising page on social media.

The March for Our Lives will be held on March 24. A sister march will be held in St. Paul on the same day.