Jaclyn Corin Headlines 2021 MAYDAY! Peace ConferenceThe 40th MAYDAY! Peace Conference, “Voices of Change: Our Generation of Student Activism,” begins on Wednesday, April 28 at 10 a.m.
Posted on April 19th, 2021 by

by Ava Gross ’21

February 14, 2018.

A day that altered history books and changed the trajectory of student activism in America.

Three years ago, a gunman entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and took the lives of 17 students and faculty. In what is now known as the largest school shooting in American history, Jaclyn Corin and a group of classmates took it upon themselves to mobilize their peers and call for an end to gun violence.

This year, Gustavus Adolphus College’s MAYDAY! Peace Conference, “Voices of Change: Our Generation of Student Activism,” will take place on Wednesday, April 28 at 10 a.m. The virtual event, which is free and open to the public, features co-founder and leading organizer of March For Our Lives, Jaclyn Corin. Visit the Gustavus MAYDAY! website to watch the stream and learn more about the event.

Jaclyn Corin

MAYDAY! Peace Conference director and Gustavus history and Scandinavian Studies professor Glenn Kranking said that the idea for this year’s conference emerged when the country watched as the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting responded, pushing for calls to action and organizing the March for Our Lives to make their pleas heard. Corin was originally scheduled to speak at Gustavus last spring, but that appearance was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We also often look to anniversaries when we plan our theme, and 2020 was the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shootings. We did not want to focus on the shootings themselves, but rather the responses,” Kranking said.

“In the aftermath of Kent State, there was a strong push to lower the voting age (during the time of the Vietnam War, young men aged 18 were drafted, yet did not have the right to make their voices heard at the ballot box until they turned 21), which ultimately led to the 26th Amendment that lowered the voting age to 18. In viewing these two tragedies, we wanted to focus on the aspect of student activism. As we considered potential speakers about student activism, a few of the co-founders for March for our Lives were mentioned, and we were thrilled to secure Jaclyn Corin as our speaker,” Kranking added.

“I am hoping to hear what she finds hopeful about student activism, even when those in power are not acting fast enough, or in the direction we would like. What keeps her motivated to continue her activism?”

Following Corin’s lecture, history professor Greg Kaster will discuss the topic “Kent, Parkland, and the History of Social-Justice Student Activism in the United States.”

“My hope is that participants will come away from the conference newly aware and appreciative of the long and varied history of student activism for justice among not only college students but also, too easily overlooked, high-school students like those from Parkland,” Kaster said. “It’s important to understand why activism matters, even when it does not succeed in the intended way.”

The Annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference was founded at Gustavus in 1981 by the late Florence and Raymond Sponberg of North Mankato and is designed to educate the community about issues related to peace, human rights and social justice. The conference occurs every year on the last Wednesday in April or the first Wednesday in May. Previous conference themes have focused on land rights, violence in community, hunger, the banning of landmines, food security, global water issues, and political policies relating to peace issues.

For questions or more information about this year’s conference, visit the MAYDAY! website.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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