Outrage Into Action

Two juniors began a Students Demand Action branch at Bishop’s, a club against gun violence


On Tuesday, May 9, Students Demand Action held a bake sale as well as orange free dress for the whole school to raise awareness and support the fight against gun violence.

“We’re turning our outrage into action,” states the slogan of Students Demand Action (SDA). SDA is a national organization of passionate teens and young adults against gun violence. In March, Lily Gover (‘24) and Bella Gallus (‘24) founded the Bishop’s branch.

Everytown for Gun Safety is the parent organization of both Moms Demand Action and SDA. Lily discovered Everytown for Gun Safety, at a summer camp, where she did a presentation on it. “Once I started to research it, I found it’s one of the most notable organizations,” she said. From there, she and Bella wanted to join the group and be part of the nationwide initiative for gun safety because of the widespread resources that it offers. Through the organization, they can utilize resources such as a budget and connections with the other branches to coordinate events. Explaining why she wanted to join SDA rather than starting an independent club at Bishop’s, Lily said, “It’s much more effective when people organize together rather than being in separate places with it.”

Bella, Copy Editor for The Tower and the co-founder of Bishop’s SDA branch, frequently reports on gun laws and shootings. “Part of the reason Bella and I got so close was because we’re both so passionate about this,” Lily reflected. Near the end of 2022, the two honored the victims of the Detroit, Michigan shooting in chapel. In their memorial, Lily spoke about each of the victims, and Bella lit a candle for each one. After this first initiative, they knew they wanted to continue working together on the issue.

Since Lily grew up in England, she expressed that the gun violence in America feels even more stark for her with the perspective of having lived in a different country. “Even on the Bali trip, our guide Beni told us how horrible he feels for us when he sees things on the news,” she said. “Other countries don’t have widespread gun violence. We can fix it, we just have to pass laws, and it is hard, but that’s why we have to fight for it.”

The group has achieved a lot in a short amount of time. Their first event, a bake sale, poster-making for the San Diego Wear Orange event, and school-wide orange free dress day to raise awareness for their cause, was a huge success. “After starting the club only a couple months ago, we thought it was going to be hard to pull off,” Lily said. “It was definitely a lot of work, but it wasn’t as hard as we thought it was going to be, because everyone’s super passionate and really wanting to help.” She described that students didn’t just come up and buy food without looking at the sign. Instead, she saw many people ask about the cause and show a true interest in supporting it. The group raised $707.50 from the bake sale.

The group has received lots of positive feedback from the community. “I was expecting to have to do a lot to mobilize support, but everyone is really passionate about this issue. It’s honestly been amazing,” Lily said. “I’m super excited by the energy in our group.” So far, they have been balancing spreading awareness of the issue with putting their ideas into action. Along with phone banking and writing letters to representatives, the club’s goals include organizing a protest or walkout.

“I’m also hoping we can connect more with the national organization. SDA has already made a huge impact, so we want to help with that,” said Lily. “It’s really about doing whatever is necessary at the moment, depending on what’s going on.” For example, SDA branches in Texas have been holding walkouts due to recent mass shootings and changing policies there. 

Overall, Lily is inspired by the passionate group she and Bella have gathered. The students involved have a wide spectrum of beliefs about gun policies. “We are not an anti-NRA, anti-gun club institutionally,” she clarified. “Some people believe guns should not be allowed at all, and other people believe there should just be more regulations. We are a club that focuses on ending gun violence, not on ending guns.” Despite these differences, SDA members come together to work towards progress on this issue – and that is what change is all about.