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    Sophomores Flora Ranis, Maia Fernandez-Baigun and Samantha Rathe, among others, protest at Monday's rally.
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Students gather to spark a change

in Multimedia/News/Photo Albums by

In fewer than 48 hours, American Heritage seniors Sydnie Rathe, Nicholas Fonseca and Faith Ward organized a school-wide protest for gun control in response to last week’s deadly massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD). The seniors cited the Not One More rally for firearm safety legislation at the Federal Courthouse Feb. 17 as inspiration for their protest.

“After listening to MSD survivor David Hogg speak at the rally and call for other schools to host protests on Presidents’ Day because there was no school, we stopped and thought ‘okay, we can do that,’” Ward said. “It comes from a place of anger and frustration with our government at the inaction we’ve seen through all these years.”

Ward, Fonseca and Rathe began planning the protest on the Saturday evening after the rally, communicating with school administration and local police to secure Monday, Feb. 19 as the date and the sidewalk outside school as the venue. Upon obtaining approval, the three students spent all of Sunday gathering supplies for the event, corresponding with leaders of the #NeverAgain movement who attend MSD and contacting news stations to ensure the event received televised coverage to convey its message.

“We really did everything in about 36 hours, but it was the passion of the students at our school and across the area that really made this work,” Fonseca said. “Without them and their active interest and willpower, none of this would have been possible.”

On Feb. 19, the date of the protest, approximately 200 students, faculty members and advocates from other schools showed up between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. bearing signs with various messages, coming together as they all called for the universal theme of tighter firearm safety regulations. Ward, Fonseca and Rathe also distributed maroon wristbands to symbolize MSD’s school color, contributing to the protestors’ vigor.

“I’m here because enough is enough,” senior Emily Meyers and protester at the event said. “School is supposed to be for education and growth. It shouldn’t be a place where you fear for your life. It just as easily could have been us.”

Ward, Fonseca and Rathe considered the protest successful in conveying its message and showing solidarity.

“As a community, I think we’ve all felt things changing. Students are tired of their voices being ignored on issues where our lives are at stake and they’re taking a stand,” Rathe said. “This isn’t just a school, a community or a state speaking. It’s an entire nation of students mobilizing and demanding that our voices be heard.”

1 Comment

  1. It is good to see that the high school students at American Heritage and around the nation voice their opinion about gun violence. Maybe, just maybe someone will listen but I hardly doubt it. Trump said today when meeting with students from Stone-man Douglas, that maybe putting more guns in school would solve the issue. In my opinion that would be the very last thing to resort to. Everyone has the right to bear arms, so says the Constitution. However, the Supreme court has always said that the people have the right to decide gun regulations. The second amendment speaks as to the right to bear arms, it does not speak as to the type of arms one may bear. This is left up to the people and the Supreme Court to decipher what arms one is allowed to bear. Am I allowed to walk the streets with grenades hanging on my belt while carrying a surface to surface missile. After all, if you possess an AR-15 I want to take you out at a distance where I am still safe. I do not think I would be allowed to do so. So why is it then that one is able to purchase an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle – which is none other than a killing machine.

    Unfortunately, the only gun control legislation that has been passed in the last 10 years has only been after they the Congressional representative themselves were shot. It is a travesty that that is what it takes to address the issue. Their attitude is that no one else matters but themselves. Perhaps if they let the gun violence continue, maybe one of their children will be shot and slaughtered. I bet if that happened, gun controls would be in place the very next day.

    Students, keep your voices loud. You can now vote or will be able to vote in the near future. Vote out the incumbents who turn their heads when it comes to gun control. Do not be afraid to run for office to replace these individuals. Stand for abolishing the sale and possession of weapons such as the AR-15 and similar weapons to the general public. Make it a criminal offense to possess or sale these types and similar types of weapons.

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