We asked 5 students: What inspired you to become a gun control worker?

He was lucky that day: that short jump meant running away from a fellow student with a gun. But about an hour outside of Detroit at Oxford High School he had no classmates. The 15-year-old gunman killed four students: Hannah St. Juliana, 14, Tate Maire, 16, Madison Baldwin, 17, and Justin Schilling, 17. The violence injured six more students and a teacher.

A lot has happened for Tour since November: he graduated from high school, started advocating for gun-violence law, and most recently, traveled to Washington, D.C. to take part in the March 2022 Live for Hour. During the procession he wore the names of his lost classmates in a gray custom T-shirt.

Shortly after the shooting, he said he did not know how to heal. March for Our Lives reached out to him on Twitter about talking to lawmakers through an upcoming rally in Lansing. He decided to try it.

“At first I didn’t think it was such a great idea, but my mom and my dad reassured me that I should do it to get out of the funk I was in,” Tour recalls. He thought it would be difficult to stay in the Michigan Capital, but lobbying in Lansing for safe firearms storage and increasing mental health resources at Michigan schools encouraged him and made him feel he was making an impact. “So I just keep moving.”

After the Michigan rally, Toure returned home and focused his attention on spending time with friends. He tried to stay away from social media, but then Uvalade was shooting. Tour felt angry that more students would have to go through his trauma. “It must have bothered me,” Toure said of the shooting.

In the end, she’s glad she’s working to change things, and encourages other students to get involved – but she also says young people need to make sure they “take care of themselves mentally and physically and emotionally.”

Touray found that, for him, it meant traveling with a small Bluetooth speaker and his “bad B ****” playlist. She goes back to her hotel room every night, occasionally crying after a few days of meeting, and she’ll press play on her playlist, “And I’m just dancing around my room.”

It’s pick-me-up to take him forward.

Eliza Cohen is a rising junior at the University of California, Los Angeles. (Shawn Sugai)

Eliza Cohen, 20, Los Angeles

Less than two weeks after Uvalde, Elijah Cohen was among dozens of UCLA students lying on the ground in protest.

For Cohen, who was a sophomore at a high school in Los Angeles when the Parkland shooting took place, it was painful to learn about the Uvalade shooting. “For many of us on campus, it was very difficult to process,” says Cohen, a budding junior studying public affairs. “It felt like, again, we’re here.”

Two UCLA students from Texas – Anna Faubus and Emma Barrell – hosted the lay-in. “Talking about how they got back to Texas, a lot of people don’t share the same opinion about gun safety as they do, but they felt at UCLA, although many of their colleagues agreed with them, they felt there was a lack. The response, ”Cohen says.

For 337 seconds, Cohen and others observed silence in honor of 337 children who have been victims of school gun violence since they were shot at Columbine High School in 1999, when two teenagers opened fire and killed 13 people in the Denver suburb. Cohen said the lie-in has since become a “movement” on UCLA’s campus, aimed at turning students’ pain and anger into a policy demand. She is part of an organization that advocates for local, state and federal representatives to support UCLA student care policies.

“Traditionally, [gun safety] We weren’t part of the advocacy, “Cohen said.” We usually focus on very student-centered policies. But I am interested in making this case because it is absolutely a student issue and an important one. “

Tina Patterson is a rising senior at Florida International University in Miami. (Tina Patterson)

Taina Patterson, 21, Miami

Tina Patterson was relaxing at home one day when she heard a loud bang at the front door. It was her mother’s ex-boyfriend. He said he had a gun and was demanded to be allowed into the house. Patterson is only 15 years old, but he instinctively gathered his 3-year-old sister and hid under the bed with her.

No shots were fired that day, but the experience of being threatened by firearms motivated him to take action.

“When it happened to me, and it was in my house, I felt – for the first time – that I was scared for my life because of a gun,” said Patterson, who grew up in Oceanside, California, where he said guns were normalized and gangs. Violence was common In his home incident, he says, “when I realized that there is a problem in our society when we understand guns.”

Patterson was introduced to a member of Moms Demand Action, which helped him start a San Diego chapter of Student Demand Action, a national, college and high school student grassroots group that educates the community about gun safety and federal and local gun change. Supports. Policy Now, Patterson is an emerging senior studying political science at Florida International University in Miami, where he hopes to establish a Student Demand Action chapter.

He often talks to others who have survived gun violence through online webinars. He also advises secondary and high school students who are victims of gun violence. “I let them know I understand where they’re coming from,” he says, “and just give them support that they may not know they need, or that they wanted but don’t know where to get it.”

Patterson wrote and recently wrote spoken-word poems and “Don’t Look Away”, where he claims that Americans “wake up” Americans at an alarming rate of gun violence. “Welcome to America, where 110 Americans will be shot dead at the end of the day. Where more than 200 Americans will be shot and wounded at the end of the night,” he said in the poem.

“For many of us, we don’t think gun violence is going to happen in front of us or happen to us or affect us until it happens,” said Patterson, who hopes to become a broadcast news reporter after college. . “And so I urge you to speak out against this epidemic and against the epidemic that America is facing. Just don’t look away.”

Peren Tyman is a recent high school graduate from Ore Lake Oswego. (Peren Tyman)

Peren Tyman, 17, of Lake Oswego, Ore.

Peren Tyman cannot remember a time when the effects of gun violence were not present in their lives. Recent high school graduates remember practicing lockdown drills like elementary school and, as a result, feel the long-term passion of finding the closest exit in any classroom.

But news of Parkland’s shooting hit Tyman differently. “This is the first time I’ve heard something that moved me so deeply,” Tyman said. “I usually mention it for the first time that I start paying attention to what was actually in the news.”

And Tyman was not only paying attention, they decided to do something.

A shy and anxious high school freshman at the time, Tyman signed up for the Students Demand Action Texting Team, which helps other students organize themselves by sending text messages with opportunities for gun reform. Texting was a way that Tyman could take action while avoiding talking to people.

“The idea of ​​speaking out loud and telling people to help me was absolutely terrifying,” Tyman said. Instead, they chose to stay within the limits of texting, where they could read and re-read each message, verify and verify that they were providing accurate information.

But now, Tyman says they are confident of talking to anyone about gun violence. Whether it’s a fellow student, a policy maker or an NPR reporter. Tyman’s transition to speaking began at their own high school, where they created a Students Demand Action chapter with the help of a few classmates and a teacher.

The local chapter has worked with school administrators to reform the active shooter drill so that students, parents and administrators get prior notice of the drill. “I have had experiences in my school district where we were not informed [of] A drill that caused extreme panic, “said Tyman, who is now part of the agency’s national advisory board.

Tyman will join the University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio this fall, with the goal of a long range, they say, “running for office or being an organizer for the rest of my life.”

Rukwan Brown is a rising junior at Harvard University. (Featured Movies)

Ruquan Brown, 20, Washington, DC

On June 11, Rukwan Brown woke up feeling excited. Brown is a rising junior at Harvard University, but returned to his hometown of Washington, DC for the week. That day, he joined thousands of workers at the Washington Monument, where they called on Congress to take action to combat gun violence.

“I’m a former football player, and so it feels a bit like a playing day,” Brown told NPR before the start of the march.

Brown’s path to activism was driven by a number of incidents while in high school. In 2017, he lost to a football teammate Robert Lee Arthur Jr. for gun violence. “Hardly anyone seems to be talking about it,” Brown said.

“I felt it was my responsibility to pick up a microphone and make sure the world was about his life, but also about the life he took after that.”

The following year, Brown’s honest father was also taken in by gun violence.

In the wake of this tragedy, Brown created a merchandise company called Profit 1 for Arthur’s jersey number. It sells clothing such as tees and sweatshirts with accessories including branded face masks and stickers. Brown donates a portion of the company’s proceeds to charity. Things like the cost of funerals for victims of gun violence, a public art project to prevent gun violence, or helping students in public schools in Washington access therapy.