A three-day event is planned for March 21-23 by sophomore Chloe Rodenbeek to bring awareness to different types of violence and how to identify false information. The conversation for an event like this began when Professor of Sociology Tim Buzzell had a class discussion during his criminology class about the common myths surrounding mass shootings and how to sort out the truth.
Following the class discussion, Rodenbeek decided that she wanted to organize an event to raise violence awareness. Rodenbeek and Buzzell discussed a variety of options and ultimately decided on a multi-day plan.
“What we thought we could do was have a series of awareness-building kind of activities,” Buzzell said. “Just to make this community aware of different kinds of violence that can affect our lives.”
This three-day event leads up to the March for Our Lives movement that is taking place in Washington, D.C. on March 24. The march currently has 440 sibling marches occurring worldwide that coincide with the main march happening in Washington, D.C.
According to the March for Our Lives official website, “the mission and focus of March for Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues. No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than the timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.”
When discussing what the focus of the awareness days would be, Rodenbeek said she and Buzzell decided to focus on the issue of violence, rather than solely the issue of gun violence.
“Other than the fact that the March for Our Lives is the basis for it happening, it’s not really connected,” Rodenbeek said.
Along with raising awareness for various types of violence, the goal of this event is also to promote factual information and identifying false information that commonly surrounds these issues.
Buzzell said that the vocabulary used in news and recognizing what information goes into statistics is important to ensure that sources are correct. An example of this is the different categorizations the FBI use to classify violent acts and how some statistics combine these classifications without clearly stating where the data comes from.
The first of the three days of awareness will begin on March 21. This day will focus on student-represented information and will have the involvement of student organizations. Rodenbeek has reached out to Mungano, Total Equality Alliance, Leaders for Environmental Awareness & Protection, BRāV and Baker Serves to involve them in this project. These student organizations will provide information about types of violence related to their group. For this part of the event, there will be a table set up in the Long Student Center where students can get more information.
March 22 will be focusing on communicating with Baker University security and the Baldwin City Police Department about safety on Baker’s campus and in the Baldwin City community. Students will have the opportunity to ask the security guards and the police department questions, such as the protocol for certain situations. This event will also be located in the Long Student Center.
The event will end on March 23 with Buzzell opening his criminology class to other students at Baker to attend for an open conversation and presentation. Rodenbeek also plans on having interactive activities for students to participate in.
“A community that’s aware comes closer together and that helps prevent crime. If we’re a cohesive group, and I think Baker is, that will prevent problems down the road,” Buzzell said. “But we have to keep talking about it.”