Two clubs engaged Berkeley City College (BCC) students on Tuesday, March 6 to call the Capitol in support of a gun suicide prevention bill, AB 1927.
Emara Shabir, president of the Muslim Student Association (MSA), said she felt like she had to do something after hearing about the shooting in Parkland, Florida.
In Parkland, Nikolas Cruz opened fire inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, killing 14 students and three teachers.
Since the shooting, the student survivors have been vocal in demands for common-sense gun laws, and their words have reached almost every major national news outlet.
On March 13, the State of Florida issued a notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Cruz.
Shabir watched videos of the Florida students speaking out and demanding better gun control legislation. “The best I can do is work on [this issue] locally,” Shabir said.
She reached out to Roman Kaludi, president of the Civic Engagement Club, and the two clubs collaborated to host a phone bank in which students could write letters or call the California assembly members on the public safety committee.
“Protests are a good way of showing our voice, but we have to channel our voice and our energy into action to bring about change,” Kaludi said.
Civic Engagement member Kamila Kaminska-Palarczyk compiled the list of assembly members on the public safety committee and their office phone numbers.
She drafted a letter in support of AB 1927, a bill proposed to the California State Legislature by Assemblymember Rob Bonta that would allow people to add their own names to the California Do Not Sell List.
If passed, the bill will require the California Department of Justice to develop a secure online platform to allow residents to add their own name to the list.
It will further require the department to ensure that the list’s data is uploaded to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The internet-based platform must verify identities of those submitting names and protect those identities from unauthorized disclosure.
MSA and Civic Engagement provided pizza during what’s called “college hour” at BCC (12:15 – 1:15 p.m.) on March 6, along with information about AB 1927. Students were given the option to call assembly members or to write a letter to the California State Assembly.
The clubs collected 30 letters within the hour.
Laraeb Kahn, vice president of MSA, said this day was important “because everyone’s life matters.”
She said that no one wants to send their children to school without knowing if they’ll be safe.