Gun Violence Is A Reproductive Rights Issue

Posted on June 1, 2018

Gun Violence Blog Pic 4My name is Gabby Gubitosi, I am a senior at Pittsburgh CAPA High School and have been involved with Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania and Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates for a few years now. As a high school student in the United States, the recent mobilization of students against gun violence has become a priority in my activist work.

On February 21, 2018 I participated in a student walkout to show the students in Parkland we stand in solidarity with them and to also show lawmakers and elected officials the urgency to create stricter gun control to protect our nation’s children. At 12 pm we walked out of the cafeteria, signs in hand and filed down the stairs. We were met with more students coming from other places in the building and I was genuinely surprised by the number of other students joining. The three main organizers held the doors open and about 100 of us CAPA students began marching towards Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh. Stepping outside chanting “THE STUDENTS UNITED WILL NEVER BE DIVIDED!” with my peers deterred my attention away from the cold drizzling rain, because of  the overwhelming sense of unification pulsing through the air. We were almost immediately met by media and were being both filmed and photographed throughout our walkout. When we finally arrived at Market Square, we created a large circle in the middle of the square and held hands. We remained like this as we stood in silence for 17 minutes to honor the 17 lives that were lost as a result of the Parkland shooting that happened just a week prior. Gun Violence Blog Pic 1

I was beyond exhausted, but this day was filled with so much power, love, and strength. I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many brilliant and persistent people. I am so thankful to have peers like Nia Arrington, Anyah Jackson, and Christian Carter who organized and led CAPA’s walkout and showed students in Parkland, Florida we stand in solidarity with them.

Continuing my involvement, I attended the March For Our Lives in D.C. on March 24, 2018 with buses organized through One Pennsylvania. One Pennsylvania is an organization that works to uplift the voices of those that are marginalized regarding a variety of issues. My friend Serena and I were bus captains and responsible for leading a bus full of Pittsburghers going to D.C. We got off the bus and into the sunny D.C. streets with our faces being brushed with the remaining hints of winter. We began marching and chanting, with our fists up with the rest of the people from across the country. The large mass of students with orange shirts and pleads for gun reform grasped the attention of many locals and others going to the march. We stood for almost 4 hours hearing students from all over the country, of all ages speak about how gun violence has affected their lives. There were so many intense emotions and I felt this Gun Violence Blog Pic 2sense of immense intimacy with all of my peers. All the support coming from my friends and people I hadn’t even met before gave me hope for the change in what has felt like such a hopeless time.

As a reproductive health advocate I find it especially interesting that there are those who are anti-choice and also pro-gun. They find that pregnant people exercising their right to make decisions about their own body is more detrimental than children being killed in a place that’s supposed to be a safe haven for personal growth, like their school. I also think it is interesting how gun violence only sparked massive media attention when it became an multi-incident occurrence at schools across the United States, when actions against gun violence have almost always happened.

Today, on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, I hope that you take a moment to pause and ask yourself what we can do to make our schools and community safer by eliminating gun violence. Learn more about what you can do to make a difference and take action today: https://wearorange.org/.

Share this story.