The Prospector

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Anusha Kuchibhotla Attends the March for Our Lives

Anusha+Kuchibhotla+%28left%29+attends+the+March+for+Our+Lives+event+in+San+Jose.
Anusha Kuchibhotla (left) attends the March for Our Lives event in San Jose.

Anusha Kuchibhotla (left) attends the March for Our Lives event in San Jose.

Anusha Kuchibhotla (left) attends the March for Our Lives event in San Jose.

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On March 24, 2018, CHS senior Anusha Kuchibhotla was one of the few CHS students to attend the March for Our Lives in San Jose, Calif. The March for Our Lives was a march that occurred in many different cities across the United States to advocate for stricter federal gun control laws. It organized in response to the various school shootings that have occurred in 2018, mainly the mass shooting taking the lives of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14, 2018. Kuchibhotla attended the march because she feels passionate about fighting gun violence and believes the best way to do so is with tighter gun control regulations in the form of stricter background checks. She attended the march with some friends and family members.

The Prospector: What motivated you to attend the March for Our Lives?

Kuchibhotla: I am against gun violence, obviously. Since I also took part in the school walkout, that encouraged me to go to this march as well. I think the thing that upset me the most was the fact that people our age at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland experienced such a horrific thing, so I wanted to be part of the change.

The Prospector: Marches can often turn violent. Were you afraid at all about what might happen before you attended the march?

Kuchibhotla: I know that gun control is a hugely controversial issue. There are people with two very opposite opinions on this issue, but I was never really scared because I knew there were many people who believed in the same things that I did. I knew the march was just for American kids and people and the victims who died from gun violence and shootings.

The Prospector: When you attended the march, was there a specific moment that truly inspired you?

Kuchibhotla: Yes. Hearing people from Prospect High School expressing their [sentiments] against gun violence and showing their support meant a lot. Even though it is [unfortunate] to think that out of all the people in this country [the youth] has to stand up for what is fundamentally wrong in the government, it [was inspiring] to see everyone fighting for this one cause. One of the speakers was a teacher from Prospect High School, and she talked about how she supported [everything that we were marching for]. I also saw teachers with posters as well saying “Are my students next?” which was really sad and meaningful at the same time.

The Prospector: How was the March for Our Lives different than the CHS walkout?

Kuchibhotla: There is something very powerful about marching with strangers whom you do not know. By leading a few chants and watching so many people I did not know repeat what I was saying, I felt a lot of unity within our community, and it was comforting to know that so many people in the Bay Area share the same belief and goal as me.

The Prospector: Regardless of their opinion on gun control, many have raised concerns about the effectiveness of the March for our Lives and CHS walkout. How do you respond to the worry that the walkout and March for Our Lives will not be effective in bringing about any real or drastic change?

Kuchibhotla: For the people who say that anything we are doing will not make a difference, I disagree. The civil rights movement and the women’s rights movement were only successful because of people’s united beliefs, and I find it ironic that everyone who [claims the walkouts and marches are not going to be effective] sits at home and does nothing about it. People need to keep fighting. Change may not happen in only one year, it may happen over ten years, but eventually change is going to happen just as we have seen [throughout history].

The Prospector: As you said, gun control is a very controversial issue. What mutual understanding do you hope both sides come to in order to truly resolve the issue of gun violence?

Kuchibhotla: I think we need to understand that we need to have stronger gun control laws and keep stronger background checks and not allow guns to fall into the hands of mentally ill patients. As we have seen in the past, many perpetrators of gun violence have been mentally ill, and they often do not get the treatment that they need. A way to bring this change would be to increase and strengthen current background checks to watch who exactly guns are going to.

The Prospector: How do you respond to the opinions that increased background checks are hindering people’s ability to express their second amendment right?

Kuchibhotla: I believe there is a difference between expressing the second amendment and provoking danger to other people. There are two different types of people when it comes down to this issue. There are people who believe in their second amendment right and own a gun to protect themselves, and there are people who use the guns to [deliberately] hurt other people. Because of the statistics of how many mentally ill people have committed acts of violence through firearms, I think we should limit that [through increased background checks].

The Prospector: The recent CHS evacuation was a frightening event for almost all students. How did the evacuation affect you?

Kuchibhotla: The evacuation personally affected me. We have worked so hard to stage a walkout and show that we are there for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and all other victims; I could not imagine how and why someone could be against that and not value the lives of students or victims of gun violence and think that [threatening to shoot our school] was a funny or just a joke.

The Prospector: Do you think the school administration responded appropriately to the threat by having us all evacuate immediately?

Kuchibhotla: I think that they responded effectively because at that particular time the call said it would happen in 15 minutes, so I think the best solution was to have everyone run off [campus]. However, there have been many situations of people trying to figure out our school’s evacuation plans so [running off] did put us in some danger, but I think the administration responded effectively in the time that they had.

The Prospector: Regarding everything — the walkout, the march and the evacuation — what do you hope the next generation after your generation learns?

Kuchibhotla: I think the next generation should learn to keep fighting like us. No student should ever have to go to school with the worry of never coming back home, and no parent should ever have to say bye to their children in the morning as if it would be the last time they would see them. I think that people should keep fighting for this cause and make sure gun violence does not occur. People do [rightfully] believe in the second amendment, but [I hope the next generation also learns that] it should be monitored and there should be strengthened background checks on guns.

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