By: Katie Quigley
On April 18, 2018, four teenagers were arrested outside of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Washington, D.C. office for what they call “a message for common sense gun control.” The four girls, amongst a larger group of protesters, staged a sit-in in front of the office, lying down in the hallway right outside of it. After multiple warnings, only four teenagers were left, resulting in their arrests.
Sixteen-year-old high school student from Arlington, Virginia, Jordan Joseph, was one of the four girls that were taken into custody; via Twitter, she answered my questions about their background, their mission, their sit-in, their arrests, and the aftermath of their actions.
Naomi Caplan, a senior from the Washington, D.C. area organized the protest that the rest of the group eventually joined. All of the members are part of Students Demand Action at their school, a chapter of Everytown, an organization dedicated to ending gun violence and building safer communities.
According to Jordan, she and the rest of the group were warned that they would be given three warnings before arrests were made. It was once the warnings began that the rest of the group fizzled out; Jordan, Naomi, and sophomore and junior Eva and Rachel, respectively, remained. Each protester was confronted by the police individually, asking if they desired to stay. Arrests were made when the four decided they wanted to stay. Though she is unsure of the official charge, the four were told they were in trouble for blocking the hallway. Jordan stayed in custody for three hours.
Jordan says her parents have been extremely supportive of her endeavours, for which she is extremely grateful. For the most part, the four girls have received a very positive response from both their fellow classmates and high school students across the country. “There was a little backlash,” Jordan understandably admits, but for the most part, these young protesters have received support from Americans everywhere.
As for a response from Paul Ryan? As of May 8th, 2018, almost one month later, the protesters have received no response from Ryan or any of his colleagues. Jordan is still “hoping someone will reach out soon”- as is the rest of America.