Guns ‘N Violence education strives to expose the realities of violence

Interactive community activities, somber displays and self-defense classes will be available throughout campus this week as part of Guns N’ Violence Awareness Week, sponsored by LINK.

“The purpose of Guns ‘N Violence Awareness Week is to spread awareness to the student population about various types of violence that plague the United States,” said Erica Shinholser, special events chair and executive board member of LINK. “This week is dedicated to all of the people who have lost their lives to the hands of violence.”

During the week, purple armbands will be passed out to students to be worn as an acknowledgment of those victims of violence.

Leandra Medina, coordinator of the William R. Butler Volunteer Services Center, believes the week is also beneficial in developing involvement within the community.

“The purpose of this week is to educate students not only on violence but also on the importance of speaking out on violence and to change the amount of violence going on today,” Medina said.

Medina also mentions that now is an appropriate time to reflect on issues of violence because of the recent serial sniper case that has affected the entire nation and the attempted sexual battery incident that occurred on campus recently.

“We get desensitized to [violence] because we hear it every day,” she said. “This is an opportunity to stop, look and realize and take it all in.”

Among the activities scheduled is a domestic violence march in downtown Miami tomorrow at noon. Those interested in participating should meet at the Rock at 11:20 a.m. and wear something white.

Self-defense classes will be held Wednesday afternoon from 2 to 3:45 p.m. in UC ballroom B. The workshop will include a video, a lesson in avoidance and risk reduction and an introduction to basic self-defense moves.

Tricia Shatley, director of orientation, will direct the workshop and hopes that those who come, especially women, will also participate in other programs.

“It’s important for women to have the option of whether they want to fight or not, and to be effective if they choose to do so,” Shatley said. “They need to be able to rely on themselves.”

Shatley is also involved with the Rape Aggression Defense [RAD] program, a 12-hour violence prevention course for women.

RAD will be offered Nov. 4, 5 and 8 from 6 to 10 p.m.

Statistics will be posted in different locations and a gravesite will be created for students to read more about the consequences of guns and violence.

An exhibit of the shoes worn by individuals affected by violence will also be on display.

“A shoe display on the Rock will represent the silent march for people of all walks of life that have been affected by violence,” Shinholser said. “Each pair of shoes is tied to its own story of a fatal encounter with guns and other types of violence.”

Both Medina and Shinholser emphasize that everyone is welcome to all the activities.

The week-long event will culminate with a hate crime education campaign on Friday, which will be sponsored by the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Community [GLBC].

For more information on this activity or any other activities related to Guns ‘N Violence Awareness Week, speak with members of LINK who will be at the Rock throughout the week, or call 305-284-GIVE.

Paul Fajardo can be contacted at