In the weeks leading up to the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C., Marjory Stoneman Douglas High sophomore Ashley Baez wasn’t sure whether she wanted to go.
It wasn’t that the 15-year-old didn’t believe in fighting for stricter gun control laws.
It was that just over five weeks ago she had been shot in the leg when a gunman opened fire at her school. Now, Ashley walks with a cane. The thought of being in a crowd of strangers was terrifying.
Read more: Profiles of the 17 who died
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“I genuinely was afraid to come,” she said. “It’s such a big group, and you never know what’s going to happen.”
But in the end Ashley decided to come with a group of 200 students from her school. She wanted her voice to be heard and she wanted the country to listen.
She ate breakfast Saturday morning with her classmates at the hotel the group was staying at in Arlington, Virginia. She wore a baseball cap with “Enough is Enough” emblazoned on it. Ashley said she hoped politicians saw the march and thought about what the Parkland kids had experienced.
“I’m hoping that the politicians realize what we’re going through and how this has affected our lives heavily,” she said. “I just want our schools to be safer so we don’t have to be afraid every second.”