Town Hall for Our Lives

In April, current and former DHS students organized a Town Hall over the hotly debated topic of gun control

By Finn Bell

For many, it may seem as though the March for Our Lives movement is dead, but this couldn’t be any further from the truth. While there hasn’t been any million-person marches lately, all across the country, the movement is alive and well in the form of town halls. These small, local events serve as platforms for members of communities to speak to their representatives. And as the 2018 midterm elections grow nearer,  Town Halls are excellent opportunities for people to find out where candidates stand on issues such as gun control. One such town hall event took place here, in Dexter.

The Dexter Town Hall for Our Lives was hosted in the Dexter Public Library on April 8. The event — which was organized by DHS alumni Julia Bell and Gianna Eisele — had four planned speakers: 7th Congressional District Candidate Steven Friday, 7th Congressional District Candidate Gretchen Driskell, State Representative Donna Lasinski, and 7th District Congressman Tim Walberg. However, of those four Walberg did not attend, and Driskell only had time to make opening remarks before having to leave. This was unfortunate, as Walberg was the only anti-gun-regulation planned to be there, leaving the even very one-sided.

The event started with short speeches from Bell and Eisele, focusing on the importance of students in the blossoming movement.

“The heart of the most powerful movement in the country are students no older than ourselves,” said Bell. “But while our generation is the soul of this movement, we can’t accomplish any of our goals alone. We need our parents, we need our teachers, we need our neighbors”

“For too long students have been kept out of political discussion” said Eisele, “We have been told that we are too young, that we don’t understand, but really that’s not true.”

The majority of the event consisted of a traditional town hall format, with Friday and Lasinski answering questions. Lasinski focused on the importance of gun safety.

“Responsible gun owners want other gun owners to be responsible as well,” Lasinski said. 

Friday, meanwhile, devoted a large portion of his time to speaking against gun-lobbyist groups such as the NRA and lobbyist groups in general. The town hall also included speeches from DHS students, including Seniors Georgia Frost, Evelyn Hawley, and Sabina Carty. One of the most powerful moments of the event happened during Carty’s speech.

“Who remembers being shocked, saddened, surprised or horrified of the Columbine shooting,” Carty asked and was met with almost every hand raised. “And who remembers being saddened or horrified by the Parkland shooting?” Almost no one raised their hand.

The town hall concluded with audience questions, and a plea to attendees to get out and vote this November.