WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – From a young age, Purdue student Paige Carter has wanted to confront the narrative that more guns make us safer, and now she has a national stage to speak her message.
“Going to school at my age, having to do school shooter drills,” Carter, 20, told the Journal & Courier, “had a deep impact on me and my generation. It’s frustrating because gun violence is so much a part of our lives but we’re never involved in the conversation.”
Carter, in her third year at Purdue, has been selected to be a member of this year’s Project Unloaded National Youth Council, an organization focusing on reducing gun violence.
Pursuing degrees in political science and global students, she is described as “passionate about empowering others through education and firmly believes in the power of her generation to shift the gun culture narrative to make all communities safer,” the announcement stated.
Originally from Evansville and a graduate of North High School, Carter serves as a tour guide for University Residences, as a Dean’s Ambassador for the College of Liberal Arts and is co-founding a reproductive justice club.
Her presence on the national council, she said, will draw from the fear and the perceived normalcy of gun violence etched in her memory as early as elementary school.
“It’s something that adults don’t even think about, how gun violence affects us,” Carter said. “I remember first learning about Sandy Hook, and we never got away from that.”
On Dec. 14, 2012, 26 people, including 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 years old, where killed in a mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn.
“We are never able to leave that fear behind. It’s frustrating, we’re waiting on laws to change, but how much has to happen before we get the ball rolling?
“That, to me, reinforces the need for Project Unloaded.”
Fourteen high school and college students from around the country were selected during this annual process and will serve a year-long term. Members of the youth council, the release stated, participate in Project Unloaded’s social media campaigns, such as SNUG (Safer Not Using Guns), develop social media content and strategies that support community partner programs.
“Project Unloaded’s Youth Council is an essential part to rewrite the narrative on guns,” the release stated. “As history has proven time and again, there’s no stopping a determined group of young people. We’re excited to see what this new group of leaders will do to take on gun culture and help turn the tide on this epidemic.”