This week, the College Democrats will hold a gun violence awareness week, that will feature speeches from prominent figures and a documentary that will cover some of the most contentious issues being debated in legislatures across the country.

One of the core tenets of Georgetown’s mission is an emphasis on dialogue. A gun violence awareness week is an opportunity for Georgetown’s community to embrace this appreciation for discourse and apply it to a national issue. In order to generate effective discussion that includes the majority of the student body, the College Democrats ought to be wary of how they structure the event.

The issue of gun violence is bipartisan. Certainly the two parties have stark differences on gun policy, but the issue is dear to both. If the upcoming events intend to discuss all the facets that affect gun violence issues, it should not only feature voices from both sides of the aisle but also delve into related topics like mental health issues and the lack of support for those who suffer from such ailments in the United States.

Mental health experts, law-enforcement officers, victims of gun violence and law-abiding gun owners all have something to contribute to the discussion of this complex issue. The College Democrats should take this into account so that their awareness week provides as much information about the factors in the debate as possible, enabling students to develop educated opinions. A balanced perspective will allow students to decide where they stand on the politics that are associated with gun violence and will not risk stigmatizing the issue as a uniquely Democratic cause, which could not be farther from the truth.

A week that features only pro-Democrat perspectives will alienate portions of the student body that may not subscribe to that line of thinking. “Awareness,” after all, involves complete knowledge of an issue, not just one side of it. A week centered on education as opposed to the propagation of a political agenda will get more students involved and provide an opportunity for increased student activism and awareness on campus.

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