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VIDEO: Students call for an end to gun violence

March 14, 2018 By Liliana Bernal Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn students rally for stricter gun laws. Eagle photos by Liliana Bernal
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Students at more than a dozen schools in District 38 joined the National School Walkout on Wednesday to protest gun violence and to mark one month since a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

In the early morning, a group of students and parents convened for Councilmember Carlos Menchaca at 36 Street and Fourth Avenue to speak publicly about their motivation to protest.

With speeches written in their notebooks, the students called on the government to hear them and to keep their schools safe.

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“When I heard that they are training teachers in how to use guns, that made me uncomfortable and scared,” said Britney Espinoza from Sunset Park Prep. “I’m here to ask you to come together and raise our voices.”

At 10 a.m. several hundred students from J.H.S. 88 Peter Rouget (MS88) and New Voices Middle School walked out of classes for 17 minutes to honor the Florida victims. The students carried signs and chanted rhymes calling for gun control and safety in schools.

“We need to take action because we are 17 lives too late,” said a middle schooler from MS88.

Another student pointed out that if they put enough dedication, they can change the country.

Close to the end, the names of the 17 Florida victims were read aloud before the crowd kept silent for one minute.

Leo Kennedy from MS88 told the Brooklyn Eagle what their message is: “We are here, we’re not backing down, our voices need to be heard … we’re not gonna stop until there is some change in the government in these laws about the second amendment.”

The nationwide protest organized by EMPOWER, the youth branch of the Women’s March, is part of the actions of #NeverAgain, a movement for restricted gun control that is led by kids that survived the shooting in Parkland.

Experts said that this is an unprecedented movement that has grown faster than many other groups before. In less than one month, their twitter account has gained 151,000 followers. Through online campaigns and celebrity donations, they have raised millions of dollars and have met lawmakers to talk about their concerns.

Councilmember Carlos Menchaca organized the march on 36th Street and Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park.

Students like Pilar Lu-Heda from New Voices Middle School said that she doesn’t want to be someone who doesn’t care or doesn’t pay attention to gun violence until it hits close to her home.

“I want to stand up and say that it’s not right that our society lets this happen over and over again,” Lu-Heda said. “How can we let this become normal in our world? This constant circle of shootings and forgetting needs to end.”

“As much as it is a tragedy, it’s a call to action as well,” said a MS88 middle schooler. “To the 17 people that lost their lives, your lives were not lost in vain; we will take action.”

One young Brooklynite in District 38 said that she doesn’t want to be someone who doesn’t care or doesn’t pay attention to gun violence until it hits close to her home.

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