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Michigan State University students and community organize protest

On the steps and in the crowd were dozens of people holding signs with messages that read "thoughts and prayers aren’t bullet proof."
Posted at 7:01 PM, Feb 15, 2023

Today wasn’t an ordinary day for Michigan State University students waking up in East Lansing. Classes were canceled and school activities postponed. 

Instead, students and the community gathered at the steps of Michigan’s Capitol calling for stricter gun control laws, just three miles away from where a gunman opened fire two days ago. 

On the steps and in the crowd were dozens of people holding signs with messages that read "thoughts and prayers aren’t bullet proof" and "enough is enough," raising questions about their safety and their future. 

"How many times do I have to text my loved ones to ask if they are safe? Which words do I need to say to convince politicians that my life matters more than someone’s right to bear arms?" said Katie Sundeen, an MSU student. 

While looking into the eyes of lawmakers that did come out to show support MSU student Maya Manuel, who helped organize the event, called out for tougher gun laws, saying she can’t do it alone.  

Michigan State University, families mourn shooting victims

Michigan State University, families mourn shooting victims

A gunman took the lives of 20-year-old Alexandria Verner, 20-year-old Brian Fraser and 19-year-old Arielle Diamond Anderson Monday.


"How many of you can look at these students right here and see your son, your daughter, your significant other, your sibling? We have lost too much. It’s only getting worse. It won’t get better unless we start change and that starts with you. It doesn’t start with me. I’m 20 and I’m broke," Manuel said. 

One by one students stood up to tell their stories, standing just down the street from Sparrow Hospital, where five of their classmates are being treated after they were wounded in the shooting.

But it wasn’t just students up there demanding change. Lawmakers also cried out for more calling out their own colleagues.  

"The number one killer of people under 21 is gun violence. So you either decide you give a crap about children and you’re going to do something about what is killing them. Or you cannot say you care about children," said Rep. Elissa Slotkin. 

And in a statement Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, said action is coming. 

"The time for only thoughts and prayers is over. We are in a unique position to take action and save lives. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do in the weeks ahead," Whitmer said. 

The general sentiment among lawmakers who attended was that enough was enough and that this time would be different.  

While Republican lawmakers in Michigan have rejected stricter gun measures in the past, Democrats now hold slim control of the state House and Senate. 

These protesting students are anxiously waiting to see if change is coming.