I expected to spend February 14 studying and talking to my friends about Valentine’s Day plans and what we were going to do after school.
Instead, I found myself hiding behind my teacher’s desk, listening as the sound of rapid fire gun shots got closer to our classroom.
When we were evacuated, I had to walk through shell casings and try not to see the things that no one should ever have to see.
I lost a friend and a coach. Parents lost children.
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My school isn’t the only one. There have already been 17 school shootings this year.
I don’t know when, or if, I’ll be able to get over the shooting, but I’m able to talk about it now because I think my story can build awareness for others.
Pundits and talking heads have said the odds are against us students, but this isn’t the first time in our country’s history that a group of people has stood together and made a real difference.
Fifty years ago, sanitation workers went on strike in Memphis and Dr. King delivered his Mountaintop speech in support.
They knew economic and racial justice had to go hand in hand.
Today, young people know we can’t end gun violence without taking on poverty and racism, and getting politically involved, too.
In April, I’m taking my story to Memphis. Student activists from all over are joining at an “I AM 2018“ town hall and we’re going to plan for the 2018 election.
Going up against the NRA and powerful politicians won’t be easy.
But if 1,300 sanitation workers could go on strike in the Jim Crow south, if Dr. King could give a speech that students still learn about in school 50 years later, then I know we can make our voice heard, too.
a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,