Survivors of last month’s massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, met with students raised in D.C. who say they’ve grown up experiencing gun violence in their community.
Students from Stoneman Douglas High School participated in a #NeverAgain rally Thursday at Thurgood Marshall Academy. Adults, including Mayor Muriel Bowser started off the rally but quickly gave the floor to students.
“Many of these communities are disproportionately affected by gun violence but they don’t get the same share of media attention that we do,” Stoneman Douglas High School survivor David Hogg said.
“This year alone, we have lost two of our own TMA Warriors to gun violence: Paris Brown and my brother, Zaire Kelly,” Zaire’s twin Zion said.
Zaire was shot in a robbery attempt in September.
Their father, Curtis Kelly, attended the rally and was encouraged by the students.
“I hope they’re invigorated, I hope they stand strong and change will come, because they are the youth,” he said.
When asked how many of the students have been affected by gun violence, the room filled with raised hands.
“It should not be normal for everybody in this room to have been affected by gun violence,” a Thurgood Marshall student said. “It should not be normal.”
Curtis Kelly not only lost his son Zaire, but his cousin Gregory Baldwin survived a shooting years ago.
“For years upon years, throughout our country we’ve been subjected to gun violence,” he said.
Seeing young people leading the movement inspired Baldwin.
“I’m hopeful that a change will come,” he said. “We’re seeking a change.”
“There’s no running away from us,” Stoneman Douglas survivor Cameron Kasky said. “We are the youth; we are the students; we are the ones who are being educated. Now it’s time for them to get educated by us.”