West Mesa HS students march against school gun violence

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On Saturday, teenagers and local leaders came together in Albuquerque to march, share ideas, and demand safety in their classrooms.

“As students, as the future it’s our decision to make this future,” said Sophia Herrera, a West Mesa High student. 

The student-led group marched around the school campus, and down the street where 16-year-old Andrew Burson was shot and killed in 2022.

Andrew Burson’s dad attended the event Saturday, remembering and honoring his son with a moment of silence as they passed the place where Andrew was shot, and where another classmate was shot but survived in March.

Student leaders say it was empowering to use their voices to bring awareness about their concerns. 

“We saw an opportunity to be able to make a change and let our voices be heard, and we started out as a small idea and realized we got more support from our teachers and staff,” said Sophia. 

They also had several community leaders there to talk about what can be done. 

“Nobody, nobody should ever be scared to be in a school house ever,” said Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman.

West Mesa is part of the V.I.P. or the “Violence Intervention Pilot” program. It aims to connect children with resources to help them step away from violence, and step into a better future. 

“I have hope for a better tomorrow, life isn’t something you can just borrow,” said Martin Avila, a West Mesa High student. “Every day is near filled with sorrow for the people who have lost family to guns, all I wish them the best no one should go through this stress of losing a loved one who is close.”