Students in NM, across country walk out Friday to protest violence in schools
Joy Wang and Erica Zucco
April 20, 2018 05:31 PM
SANTA FE, N.M. – 2018 has been a year of tragedy for many students across the country, but it's also turned into one for change.
On Friday, students all across the county – including in New Mexico – united once again to push for an end to gun violence in local schools. Organizers of the Santa Fe demonstration said it involves students from every public and private middle school and high school in the state's capital, as well as others.
"There's a lot more work to be done, and as a student, I need to stand up and make sure that it happens," said sophomore Julia Mazal.
The national conversation surrounding gun violence hasn't fizzled out, and the students at this rally said they're going to make sure it stays relevant.
"It's come to the point where students have to advocate for their own lives," junior Sophia Lussiez said. "I think it's sad that instead of studying (for) the ACT, I had to be here and advocating for my right to feel safe in school."
It's a fear Lussiez said she believes has become the norm across the country. But for New Mexico in particular, the desire for change is especially urgent.
"New Mexico is one of the highest for gun violence, and I think this is something that has been in our state for a very long time," she said. "I think that needs to change."
The demonstrators here said they feel they have to take matters into their own hands because adults have failed them. Friday marks 19 years since the deadly Columbine High School shooting, which took the lives of 12 students and a teacher.
"We have 100 percent failed them," said Miranda Viscoli of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence. "They did not choose to be born into a country where, every single day, they're afraid to go to school. It's our job as adults to fix this mess that we got them into."
SOLIDARITY IN ALBUQUERQUE
Joining the demonstrators in Santa Fe, several schools across Albuquerque participated in Day of Action events to say “no more” to violence in schools.
“There's gun violence in the community and this is the one place where our students are safe – the schools,” said Kennedy Middle School librarian Sara Attleson. “And we want to make sure they stay safe at all times.”
At Kennedy, students tied orange ribbons to a fence around the school they call home every weekday. National School Walkout events across the nation are using the color orange to call for an end to school violence.
“There was a young lady in Chicago shot at the age of 15 and at her funeral everyone wore orange, and orange is the color hunters wear to not get shot,” Attleson said.
In Albuquerque, other schools across the city also took part, including Bandelier Elementary School, Lew Wallace Elementary School and Highland High School.
Attleson said it’s all about sticking together.
“There are entrances all over the school they can enter, and today was significant because they all came out front to walk in together,” Attleson said. “It’s the solidarity, the unity."
Joy Wang and Erica Zucco
Updated: April 20, 2018 05:31 PM
Created: April 20, 2018 04:26 PM
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