Michigan State University students holding signs saying “It could’ve been me,” “Spartan Strong,” “This isn’t recess, we shouldn’t have to hide,” and more filled the steps of the Lansing Capitol building. All survivors of another mass shooting.
On February 15, MSU students and community members alike gathered at the Capitol for the "Enough Is Enough" sit-down to honor and protest the students who died on the mass shooting of Feb. 13.
Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, President Jo Kovach was across the street from Berkey Hall in the Spartan Housing Cooperative office at the time of the shooting. After receiving a call from ASMSU Vice President for Internal Administration Carl Austin Miller Grondin who said something is happening.
Kovach tried to call anyone they could to get any information and was told to shelter immediately. They went to the back office in a motion censored light room and had to stay completely still.
“It was four hours with 12 people I don’t know very well trying to stay completely still in a room right across from where the shooting started hearing so much misinformation and trying to gather from the police scanner,” Kovach said.
Kovach said they hope the protest allows for everyone to start coming back together as a community and starting to ask for any change MSU students want, anything to make them feel safe on campus again, anything to allow people to take back their home.
Many student speakers took to the podium sharing experiences from Monday night. Among them was psychology junior Maya Manuel, who organized the whole event.
Manuel said she is not a public speaker, just someone who is angry and wants change. She planned the event thinking that only a few people would show up. She said she wanted to convey to politicians the anger she felt from that night.
“Before you act like you understand us, please take a moment to sit with us, and to listen to us and to be with us because you won’t be us, you haven’t been us, and hopefully soon you’ll never be us,” she said.
Manuel had politicians move to face the students on the steps. To stand and sit in front of them and see their faces.
“But my vote won’t matter if you guys don’t do anything about me putting you there,” Manuel said to the politicians in attendance. “You need to talk to your peers, you need to help your peers understand our pain. Because I know you can’t empathize, you can sympathize.”
Kayla S. a 19 year old student at MSU went up to the podium, she lives on campus in Mason Hall and was there during the shooting.
“There is one building that separates me from Berkey, I was right there in the crossfire,” Kayla said. “I was in my dorm by myself. I had to barricade myself in my dorm by pushing a dresser in front of my door locking it and dropping to my knees and praying that I was not going to die.”
She said she kept receiving phone call after phone call from people asking if she was okay. People she hadn’t heard from in years. People that she didn’t even know they were checking up on her because they knew she went to MSU.
Kayla said she was hiding inside her closet with a pocket knife in her hand for two hours.
“I thought once I graduated high school, I would be safe,” Kayla said. “I wouldn't be in a position where I would ever have to experience this. And then it happened. I felt how everybody during Parkland, Columbine, Sandy Hook, I felt everything they felt."
History freshman Cassia Bennett and human biology freshman Madalyn Roberts were together in a study room on the second floor of the MSU library, locked and barricaded in.
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