Communal Support Imperative in Fighting for Tolerance

To the Editors:

I was heartened to be able to join several hundred other Obies on March 14 at the bandstand in solidarity with school kids across the country walking out to protest gun violence. Hearing from the College’s dean and the city’s mayor added to the event. Later we learned of a walkout by Oberlin High School students — which was initially prohibited — adding their numbers to the over 3,000 such expressions of outrage and solidarity. This nationwide manifestation of youth activism will alter the political landscape.

I’d like to share a statement adopted by our local Quaker Meeting that speaks to the immediate and underlying issues:

Oberlin Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) share the grief and concern for recent school shootings in Parkland, FL, and other attacks on schools and community gatherings.

We support the “Never Again” and “March for Our Lives” efforts led by these students, allied with supportive groups and communities across the country.

We endorse the need to restrict access to guns in a minimum of three regards: reinstating a ban on assault weapons; universal background checks for all gun purchases; and raising the age limit for gun purchases.

In a larger context, we share our distress at the degree to which the American culture accepts, uses, and relies on violence by individuals and groups across the range of interpersonal and societal relationships. We ally ourselves with the victims of such violence and with their sense of urgency in seeking reforms through non-violent means.

We affirm our belief, faith, and experience in the power of love, respect, tolerance, and friendship as bases for living in community with those around us, in family, community, societal, and global relationships.

We welcome being joined by those who share these concerns.