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Performance highlights prevalence of gun violence

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An uncomfortable feeling settled over the room as students with vacant eyes stood, their hands locked together to form a human chain.

A closer look revealed mock bullet holes with blood decorating their white t-shirts and a message written in black on their arms, #NeverAgain.

After five minutes the spell was broken by the sound of sirens.

The performance is the final project for students enrolled in Margaret Bellafiore’s second-year seminar, Art as Activism class.

Students taking the course choose a topic and then work together to create a memorable work of public art.

Nathan Gill’s, ’19 class opted to create a performance piece to tackle gun violence.

“Because it’s always in the media we are almost detached from it. There is a sense that people don’t care unless it happens to them,” Gill said.

In recent years the media has reported an increase in mass shootings, just yesterday two were killed and four injured in a shooting at the University of North Carolina.

“People think that that it’s not going to happened them, but it can. We don’t always have control, that is our reality, we definitely want people to be more aware,” said Amber Hayes, ’20.

"It" happened on Feb. 14, 2018 at Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting in Parkland, Florida where 17 people were killed and 17 others injured.

After the Parkland shooting, student survivors took action. Many have been publically outspoken, looking to bring about stricter gun control laws. They created the social media group, Never Again MSD and generated the hashtag #NeverAgain.

Bellafiore’s students included the hashtag in their performance to honor the movement.

The length of the performance is no accident. The five-minutes represent the average amount of time it takes for first responders to arrive at the scene after the first bullet is fired.

 “We want people to talk about this more,” said Maria Varela, ’21.

“We want to put this in people’s faces to get them to start thinking about it,” added Gill.

Just like the Parkland students, the goal of the project is to get people communicating.

 “We realize this is a touchy subject,” said Don Thompson, ’20. “It seems to be split 50/50, you have many people who love their guns and those who don’t.  It’s always hard to make changes but I definitely believe something needs to be done.”

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