March for Our Lives: DIS Student and Alumni Participation

Samantha Horowitz, full-year student from Wake Forest’s Global AWAKEnings program, and Ryan Wakat, a 2013 DIS alum, spoke at the March for Our Lives rally outside the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen.

DIS DIS Copenhagen Semester

The March for Our Lives rally was organized in solidarity with the marches happening across the U.S. on March 24, 2018. At the rally, Samantha spoke in front of a crowd of hundreds, saying:

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to have been able to speak on such an important issue. Throughout this year, I have been able to analyze the U.S. from the perspective of a European student and the opportunity to observe what works in Denmark versus what works in the United States. I hope the students in the United States realize that the world supports them in their fight to end gun violence.”

Ryan played an important role in planning and logistics for the event. He was initially part of a small group that later grew to about 13 people, which included Danes, dual American/Danish citizens, and Americans who have been living in Copenhagen both long- and short-term. The group reached out to Democrats Abroad Denmark for additional support and funding, as well as the organizers of the March for Our Lives protest in the U.S., to make the event in Copenhagen official. They also reached out to students at the local gymnasiums who helped make signs, participate, and speak at the protest.

Ryan described the process as a group effort, saying:

“The overall feeling was that we needed to do something to show our support for our fellow citizens asking for the passing of common-sense gun law reform in the U.S. As Americans, we knew that it was our responsibility, not only our right, to hold a peaceful protest standing in solidarity with the students and families of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I was eager to do something to try to make any kind of difference.”

On the morning of the protest, Samantha and Ryan were interviewed live on TV2, a Danish television station. Samantha reflected on this moment and shared her hope for the future, “I hope Ryan and my participation in the event opens a door for other American students to get active about issues at home.”


Photos courtesy of Ryan Wakat.

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