Brandeis Never Again holds Moment of Loudness

March 23, 2018

The Moment of Loudness, a performance event featuring a cappella groups, hupoken word poets and speeches, was hosted by Brandeis Never Again on Wednesday in the Shapiro Campus Center to advocate for gun control reform in Massachusetts and nationwide.

The Moment of Loudness is a part of a series of events leading up to the “March for Our Lives” in Boston on March 24. The Moment of Loudness was organized by Brandeis Never Again, one of many Never Again groups inspired by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL who are leading a national movement.

The new organization has also hosted tabling sessions in the SCC where students could call or write their state representatives. In cooperation with the Brandeis Drawing Club, students held a poster making event yesterday to prepare for the “March for Our Lives” in Boston this Saturday. Brandeis Never Again has organized two shuttles that will run every half hour between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. from the Rabb steps and will drop off at Dartmouth Station so students can then take the Orange Line to the start of the march in Roxbury Crossing or directly to the rally at Boston Commons which starts at 2 p.m.

The regular Boston/Cambridge shuttles that run Thursday through Sunday drop off on Commonwealth Avenue about a 20 minute walk from the Commons.

Ana Cass ’21—the primary organizer of the Moment of Loudness—introduced the event as a counterpoint to the moment of silence held last Wednesday on the one-month anniversary of the shooting in Parkland. “Tonight, we will join our voices together to call for action,” said Cass, “I encourage you … to use your talents and passions to raise your voices and continue the conversation about gun violence and gun control in any way that you can.”

Several people gave speeches at the event, including Mary MacKeen, a high school junior from Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in Massachusetts. MacKeen gave a speech she had given at her high school’s walk-out last week. She cited the beginnings of the gun violence movement with Black Lives Matter and described how the coverage of gun violence largely ignores the instances when African Americans are killed. She also focused on the Parkland victims and her own experience of fearing mass shootings.

The speech was punctuated with expletives and focused on what the students killed at Marjory Stoneman-Douglas will never be able to do. The question Mackeen posed to the audience was, “Am I next?”

She spoke about the Parkland shooting, saying, “And I would like to be sad about that. I really would, but I don’t have time for sadness because there’s no room for sadness between the fear I feel … and the fact that I have to live like this, that we all have to live like this.” She finished by asking the audience to not be silent.

Two leaders of Brandeis Never Again, Renee Korgood ’20 and Sagie Tvizer ’19, gave speeches to call for gun control reform.

Korgood spoke about instances of gun violence that have occurred after Parkland—including the shooting at a high school in Maryland on Tuesday—and the need for further action.

“And while our goals include policy initiatives, our real fight is for our voices to be heard … Through this movement we must reclaim our voices and the power they can have. Vote. Call. Write … We’ve found our voices. Now, let’s use them.”

Tvizer spoke about empathizing with the families of those who have died because of gun violence. Tvizer focused on policy, urging the attendees to call their Massachusetts representatives to support House Bills 3081 and 3610.

House Bill 3081 establishes the definition and parameters of an “extreme risk protection order.” House Bill 3601, titled, “An act temporarily preventing firearm access for extremely dangerous or suicidal individuals,” would create a procedure for petitioning for an “extreme risk protection order” which would bar individuals who a judge deems to be a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing firearms. The Court can issue an ERPO for a period of one year, according to the bill.

The court would determine by a “preponderance of the evidence” if an order should be granted, a lower standard than “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Two students read original poetry at the event. Marcelo Brociner ’18 performed his spoken word poem, “Drop of the Pin,” and Ash Taber ’21 read their original slam poem, “Pretending.” The poem was told from the perspective of a student in an active shooter drill, narrating, “We pretend we’ll never be just another cited statistic or another entry in a list of names longer than it has any right to be. The drill is over … Well I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of pretending.”

The poem then focused on the broader point of the need to continue the conversation about gun control, “We will not let them slip this back under the rug forgotten until the next time because if we continue doing nothing there will always be a next time.”

Two a cappella groups and the band “Late Night Thoughts” performed at the Moment of Loudness. Too Cheap for Instruments, Brandeis’ folk a cappella group, performed first with the song, “Helplessly Hoping” by Crosby, Stills & Nash. Up the Octave, an all-female a cappella group, also performed “My Heart with You” by The Rescues.

Late Night Thoughts performed with Brian Rauche ’19 singing and Michael Harlow ’19 playing guitar. They performed “Good Die Young” by Molly Kate Kessler and an original called “Help.”

The event ended with the audience gathering close to Cass in a call and response chant that grew progressively louder with the audience repeating the phrases “Silence doesn’t save lives,” “A moment of silence should be a break between actions,” “Not the extent of the action itself,” “This is not a moment, this is a movement,” and “We won’t stop yelling until you start listening.” The entire event was filmed, and Brandeis Never Again is expected to release the video on Facebook and Twitter.

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