This summer, Peren Tiemann spent a weekend in New York City being interviewed and photographed for Town and Country magazine.
How did they get there?
By leading an effort to end gun violence in the U.S.
After looking on the internet for ways to help end gun violence, Tiemann found Students Demand Action and decided to join the team.
Students Demand Action is the largest grassroots youth-led gun violence prevention movement in the country. Tiemann, now a first-year public administration major at Miami University, has been working with the organization for four years. They said Students Demand Action works to end gun violence from all perspectives in communities.
“For me, that’s been a lot of school safety work in my high school at home and now here on campus,” Tiemann said, “as well as doing a lot of LGBTQ+ focused intersections of gun violence prevention work.”
Tiemann was able to build a chapter of Students Demand Action at their high school in Lake Oswego, Oregon. The chapter facilitated substantive changes, transforming active shooter drills to be trauma-informed and changing the laws in Oregon to prevent firearms from being legally carried in schools.
Avery Hamill is a National Advisory Board and National LGBTQIA+ Student Affinity Group Leader in Students Demand Action. They met Tiemann around the time of the 2020 election.
“Peren inspires me because of their work ethic,” Hamill said. “Everything that they take onto their plate gets done. Peren is like the glue that holds a bunch of projects together and the driving force behind a lot of [advocacy work].”
In the month they’ve been at Miami, Tiemann has already gotten involved with Associated Student Government and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Representatives. They plan to start a Students Demand Action group as well.
Their activism doesn’t just stop at gun control, though.
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“For the most part, I am trying to dive into voter registration, activation and ensuring that voter suppression is eliminated,” Tiemann said, “as well as queer advocacy and ensuring that LGBTQ+ people are safe. As well as just diversity, equity and inclusion as a whole. I think it’s super important that everyone feels safe and protected for their identity and experiences.”
Flynn Williams, is a National Advisory Board and National LGBTQIA+ Student Affinity Group Leader in Students Demand Action as well. Williams attended the same high school as Tiemann, and the two co-led Students Demand Action at their school.
“I’ve never met someone more passionate and able to organize and rally people,” Williams said. “It’s just been great to be able to learn from them because we work with the same organization.”
He said Tiemann was one of the main reasons he chose to participate in Students Demand Action.
“Working with them and meeting all these wonderful people gave me the confidence to put myself out there and apply,” Williams said. “When applications came around the second time I decided to go for it. They were one of the huge influences of why I had applied.”
Beyond college, Tiemann said they hope to continue their fight for gun control and other activism.
“I know beyond college I will continue to participate in all of these fights,” Tiemann said. “I hope to spend more of my time doing advocacy and all kinds of important, crucial organizing in whatever community I find myself in … I’ll either run for office or be a community organizer for the rest of my life.”
In November, Tiemman’s feature in Town and Country Magazine will be published. There, they’ll be exposed to their widest audience yet.
“I’m going to be a part of their Annual Philanthropy Summit this year focused on first-time voters and youth advocacy,” Tiemann said. “I had never done anything like a photo shoot before, so that was super awesome. I’m really grateful for that opportunity and it was really nice to get to meet some other awesome youth advocates from across the country.”