Local Students Said ‘#NEVERAGAIN’ to Mass Shootings

Max Rodriguez

Over 300 Desert Sand’s Unified School students walked out of class late Friday morning as part of a national anti-gun violence school walk-out, while Palm Springs High School students held an open forum during lunch-time to mark the 19 anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.

A poster hanged in the center of the Palm Springs High School quad, it said”#Never Again”, and it is the students way to stand in solidarity with the victims of school shootings.

It is hard to believe, but the majority of the students were not alive at the time of the Columbine shooting, but they did not have to be, a student was able to name a handful of massacres from the top of her head. She said, “Virginia tech, Sutherland Springs, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Charleston, San Bernardino, Orlando, Las Vegas, and now the Stoneman Douglas shooting.”

They said history has repeated itself way too many times, but the Valentines Day massacre at a Florida high school was the breaking the point.

Maricela Wright, a junior at P.S.H.S. and one of the hosts of the forum, she said, “Their movement is powerful and they need the support of all of us, and our voices are adding to the fuel on what they are doing in Washington and I think all together we can do a big change.”

The anniversary of one of the deadliest mass shootings was also momentum to the recent anti-gun walk-outs and marches, such as last month’s March for our Lives, that brought out a couple of thousands people to demonstrate in Palm Springs.

Gabrielle Gutierrez is also a junior at PSHS, and she was at last month’s march, she said, “Change doesn’t happen right away, we have to keep going and if we give up nothing is going to change.”

They said they plan to force that change by working with elected officials through a city-wide forum that they are still planning.

Wright said, “If we’re all together, it can inspire some of us to actually become them, and we can create new laws we want to seek.”

The Palm Springs City Councilmembers, Goeff Kors  and J.R. Roberts, are working with the students to schedule a public forum at the Palm Springs Convention Center, but that date is still to be determined. They said they are inviting local, state and federal policy makers to address the student’s gun-violence concerns.

Congressman Raul Ruiz, representing California’s 36 district said he looks forward to attend the forum through an email statement.

“I will continue to urge Speaker Ryan for a vote on common sense gun violence prevention legislation,” Ruiz said. “No parent in America should worry about whether their child will be victims of mass shootings at school.”

Gutierrez said they want their elected officials to be a part of the conversation, as they will soon have the vote and be able to elect someone who will.

Gutierrez said, “Because that’s the only way we have a direct effect in what goes on in our government.”

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