On April 20th, schools around the country participated in National School Walkout Day to protest gun violence. But sadly, less than a month later, the country mourned yet another school shooting, this time at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. In the wake of the May 18th attack, one of the Santa Fe shooting survivors shared a speech she wrote a month earlier for the walkout.
The student, named Kennedy Rodriguez, posted the full transcript of her speech to her Twitter page. In the tragically relevant post, she specifically addressed the fear of school shootings shared by students across the country.
“At this very school, we were exposed to that same fear,” she wrote. “And you never think it will be you…until it is you. And you never think that any single day is your last day. but for those 17 students at Parkland. Those 13 at Columbine. Those 20 at Sandy Hook. They didn’t think it would be their last day, either.”
Rodriguez went on to write that there had been 16,848 instances of gun violence in 2018 by April 20th (as of today, May 22nd, the Gun Violence Archive reports that there have been more than 22,000). She connected gun violence with the Second Amendment, which she reminded us was passed “when a musket was a weapon of choice.”
Rodriguez’s speech ended with a plea for 17 and 18 year olds to register to vote and change gun laws. She concluded that “we do not deserve to fear that one day our own lives or those that we love will be taken because the adults in our country were too stubborn to make changes to an over 200 year old law.”
Rodriguez’s powerful speech highlights the fear that so many students in the U.S. live with on a daily basis. No child or teen should have to worry about gun violence when they go to school each day. This is an issue that crosses party lines — because our kids deserve so much better.