Just hit play: #ItEndsWithUs

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Since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting less than ninety days ago, students across the county as well as the nation have worked endlessly to spark a change for better safety and gun policy. Senior Ryan Methot, in collaboration with fellow activists from Cypress Bay High School and Sagemont High School, is working on a video with a new movement: #ItEndsWithUs, complete with interviews from Florida politicians and student input from schools throughout Broward County.  

Methot’s video, initially intended to be similar to a short Public Safety Announcement, has been a work in progress for several months. Methot got in contact with activists from different schools through social media platforms like Instagram before reaching out to congressmen, officials, state senators and survivors.

Among the people Methot and his newfound friends interviewed was the mother of Alyssa Alhadeff, a soccer player and one of the 17 victims of the MSD shooting; and Mrs. Ivy Schamis, a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who taught the class where six students were shot, two of whom died — Nicolas Dworet and Carmen Schentrup.

In total, they interviewed five MSD survivors, who were able to tell their perspective on what had happened after that day and what it was like for them coming back to school and trying to establish a normal life.

In terms of political figures, the group interviewed congressman Ted Duetch, the mayor of Weston and Florida senator Kevin Rader.

“After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I felt, as a student in Broward County, that it was really important for me and for other students to show our support with the school, and to hopefully try to bring more awareness to advocating for gun control safety measures and just empowering youth to speak out and exercise their first amendment rights,” Methot said.  

Methot said he learned the importance and capabilities of social media platforms through his experience in Model UN.

“It was really interesting for me to take that idea and use it as inspiration to [make this video]. I also saw a PSA about the Newtown shooting multiple years ago, so that kind of spurred this video and all the ideas we’ve bounced off, and all the friends I’ve made,” Methot said.

Margaret Roach, a junior at Sagemont High School, led her school’s walkout March 14, which Ryan saw on a friend’s Instagram page. He contacted Roach shortly after to be involved in the video.

“A lot of people want to help, they just don’t know how, so I think you have to, rather than wait around and wait for somebody else to start something, you have to go for it and be the initiative that can start that chain reaction,” Roach said.

Valentina Santana, a senior at Cypress Bay, worked to organize and lead the walkout at her school with junior Mariana Morena, who also worked on the video. A mutual friend of theirs and Methot’s introduced the them to each other.

“[Ryan] texted me about wanting to make a small video, but we never realized it would get this big,” Santana said. “We never realized we would be able to get in contact with so many people and interview as many people as we did.”

“You see it on TV, you see it on the news, but you never actually interact with them. It never really hit me what it’s like to have a conversation with one of the parents who lost their kids until I did. It changed my point of view and my entire perspective,” Santana said.

Methot and his friends accumulated and sorted through over six hours worth of interviewing footage, as well as three hours of scripted lines, before completing the final video.

Senior Harrison Arnberg, Model UN co-president and friend of Methot, is one of the Heritage students who makes an appearance in the video.

“I decided to be a part of [the video] because I want to make sure that I do whatever I can to make sure that nothing like what happened at MSD will ever happen again. Because if we don’t take an activist stance, as students who are directly affected by this tragedy that was 17 miles from our school, then nobody will come out and speak for us,” Arnberg said.

Methot hopes the video reaches near and far, and, with interest from local news stations, it seems as though his dreams will become a reality.

“Our goal is to have a Town Hall, either at Heritage or, if it becomes too big, at another, larger arena, similar to the one in Coral Springs with Marco Rubio and Congressman Deutch,” Methot said. “I want to hear, and I’m sure so many more students and parents want to hear, what individuals from the right have to say regarding this issue, what steps they’ve taken to advance gun reform in Congress. Hopefully with all the pressure from the news and the pressure from the thousands of voices that come from Broward County schools, we can get them to come down and speak and answer questions.”

“I think we’ve seen, from Heritage, a lot of seniors come out and express their views, but it’d be really inspiring, and I hope this video helps, for the underclassmen — freshman, sophomore and even the juniors — to really come out and speak their opinions,” Methot said. “I don’t think in any way you should feel intimidated to exercise your first amendment right to your freedom of speech and advocate your ninth amendment implied right to receive an education.”

For those wishing to be involved, visit the #ItEndsWithUs FaceBook page, or contact Ryan Methot to buy a #ItEndsWithUs t-shirt for $10. All profits will be donated to the #NeverAgain movement. The video will be aired on WAHS, available on YouTube and can be found at the Facebook page once it is released.  

Joanne is the editor-in-chief of this publication. She is a junior at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. Although this is only her second year on the newspaper staff, her passion for journalism is a crucial part of her life. Joanne is also a member the Chinese Honor Society, Quill and Scroll and Key Club. She is treasurer of the English Honor Society and a secretary and historian for the Mu Alpha Theta math team. In her free time she enjoys writing or listening to music, and always welcomes new artist recommendations.

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