Many high school students have taken a more active role in raising awareness about gun violence in the wake of deadly shootings at schools across the country. A group of students from Montgomery County, Maryland, went to Capitol Hill on Friday to make their voices heard and discuss how the continuing shootings have altered their daily lives.
The group from Temple Emanuel, in Kensington, read the names of students who were killed last year at U.S. schools and held a moment of silence in front of the U.S. Capitol.
They also handed out a “Yearbook of the Fallen” at lawmakers’ offices, which includes pictures of 28 students killed at schools in 2018 — one of whom was Jaelynn Willey, 16, who attended Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County.
The teenagers from Temple Emanuel said it’s important that people remember the students as individuals and not as statistics.
“I mean, these kids — they’re not going to go home and eat dinner with their families tonight. They’re not going to be able to go to prom,” said 16-year-old Jacob Dincin. “Their lives are over, and their family misses them. So we kind of had to do something to act for change.”
The students are advocating various forms of gun control. They said the shootings at other schools affect how they feel for their personal safety when they attend class.
“This is an issue that affects people like us,” said 16-year-old Miriam Saletan.
The students have received support from several Maryland lawmakers, including Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, and Rep. Jamie Raskin.
Last year, students took part in a massive rally in Washington to demand tougher gun control laws. The “March for Our Lives” rally was one of the largest student-led protests in the nation’s capital since the Vietnam War.