News

PSU student gun violence prevention advocate attends State of the Union address
Author: By Kenny Ma, PSU Media and Public Relations
Posted: February 8, 2019

Portland State freshman Alexandria Goddard sat in the gallery above Oregon Rep. Suzanne Bonamici in the U.S. House of Representatives Chamber this week hoping to hear President Trump talk about gun violence prevention during his State of the Union address.

Instead, the president focused on the economy and immigration, repeating his calls for Congress to authorize funding for a wall on the southwestern border.

“I was disappointed,” said Goddard, an Honors College student and gun violence prevention advocate who was Bonamici’s guest for the speech. “We need more laws to create background checks and longer waiting periods on gun purchases as well as safe storage of firearms to keep society safe and reduce gun-related crimes, suicides and accidental shootings.”  

Since she was a student at Beaverton’s Sunset High School, Goddard has been heavily involved in raising awareness of gun violence prevention and advocating for bills that address the issue. Her actions and advocacy, including efforts to organize the Portland March for Our Lives rally to raise awareness of gun violence prevention, were the reasons why Bonamici invited the student activist to attend the State of the Union.

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough; Congress must take action to address gun violence,” the congresswoman said in a statement. “In the wake of tragic school shootings, students like Alexandria stepped up to lead overdue conversations about policies to protect our students and communities from senseless violence. I have been inspired by Alexandria’s leadership. Together, we will highlight the need to take immediate action on legislation to prevent gun violence.”

Goddard said she was honored to attend the speech with Bonamici, who has been a long advocate of common sense gun violence prevention laws as a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. 

“I am excited to partner with the congresswoman in the fight to end gun violence and getting young people involved,” Goddard said. “Young people have fresh perspectives and passion beyond measure, but above all else, they make up a massive portion of this country. Our votes need to be counted and our voices need to be heard.”

As a nation, Goddard said she believes the U.S. is moving in the right direction with measures such as the ban on bump stocks that’s set to take effect on March 23 and several states, such as Oregon, passing tougher laws to curb gun violence. 
 
“There is so much more to be done,” she said. “The pain of families who have lost their loved ones is immense.”
 
Beyond gun violence, Goddard is also working hard to get more students registered to vote through The Agora Theory, an organization she created to engage young and underrepresented groups in politics. So far, the group has registered nearly 1,000 students in the Beaverton School District to vote over the past two years with its “Back to School, Back to the Ballot” campaign.

 

Photo Captions
Photo 1 (from L-R): Senator Chris Murphy, Rep. Lucy McBath, PSU student Alexandria Goddard and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici

Photo 2: Members of Congress with their gun prevention advocate guests for the State of the Union.