On March 23, former Nebraska congressman and current congressional candidate Brad Ashford tweeted a photo of a billboard spotted in Washington D.C. with the caption “#Westside, you have been spotted in DC. Proud to be a Westside grad, the husband of a Westside grad, and the dad of a Westside grad. Thank you for representing #Omaha at the #marchforourlives.” Ashford’s tweet quickly gained attention from many members of the Westside community.
The billboard read “To gun violence, we can’t respond with silence”, and was credited to “Students from Westside H.S., Omaha NE.” Ashford said that he didn’t know who specifically submitted the billboard, but wanted to find out.
“I’d love to meet the students if you ever figure it out,” Ashford said. “Let me know.”
After a few days of searching for the billboard creator, it became known that sophomore Jack Pekula submitted the quote. Pekula said he was in the theatre room when theatre director Jeremy Stoll shared information regarding submitting a quote to be featured on a billboard.
“[Stoll] gave me the information, and then I thought of [the quote],” Pekula said. “I put it on a word document and then turned it into a PDF, and then I just emailed it to them and that was basically all I had to do.”
Pekula said he was very excited once he heard that his quote was selected to go on a billboard. He said that after the coordinators told him his quote was selected, all he had to do was give information for the press release.
“I was very excited,” Pekula said. “It’s probably the biggest thing I’ve ever actually done with my life on a national scale at least.”
Pekula said that he is passionate about gun control and hopes more attention continues to be drawn to the issue.
“I just think that no matter which side you are on, you should at least pay attention to what’s going on,” Pekula said. “I hope that people are going to start paying attention to it.”
The press release with more information about the other billboards as well as Pekula’s can be found here — Billboard press release