Raising hearts and prayers to take action against violence

“We will not give up. We will not give in,” was the rallying cry on March 14, 2018, one month after the school shooting in Parkland, FL, when CRSM students and staff walked outside to join schools across the country to say “enough is enough” – to school shootings and to gun violence in our country.

“It’s a cycle,” said senior Daira, one of the organizers of the ceremony of prayer and music. “Every time a shooting happens, we think about it. We pray about it and we Tweet about it. But then we forget. Now, we have to speak up. We have to do something about it.

Raising their broken hearts, frustrations and concerns to stand up for change, students organized and planned a rally to stand in solidarity with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the 17 young people who lost their lives.

Seniors Alex and Jackie began the program by asking students to pray for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and other victims of gun violence and to stand in solidarity with other students throughout the US to say “enough is enough.”

“We are highlighting only one kind of gun violence, but we are protesting the gun violence that disproportionately affects minorities and other lives in instances of police brutality, in the streets, their place of worship, or in the home,” the seniors planning the event said. “To act, call on Congress along with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to enact new gun legislation.”

Those gathered also sang the Taize songs: Nada Te Turbe (Jesus Remember Me) in Spanish and English while participants laid 17 roses at the foot of the stage in honor of the high schoolers and educators who lost their lives in the Florida shooting.

Later that morning during lunch periods, students also sent emails to local representatives. Senior Daira, explained the bleak statistics concerning gun violence:

• Seven children and teens age 19 and under are killed with guns in the US on an average day
• Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that on an average day, 96 Americans are killed with guns
• In the U.S. there are 3.6 gun homicides per 100,000 residents. The next leading country has only .5 gun homicides per 100,000 residents