This speech was co-written and presented by 11th graders Yosandy Liz and Sumayyah Espinal, vice presidents of Student Government and NHS at WHEELS. Student government organized a teach-in of the history of gun violence walkouts and organized a protest for students following the tragic events in Buffalo and Uvalde.
When will enough be enough?! Second amendment over second graders? When will all these thoughts and prayers, all this grief come to an end. There’s no reason why there’s more legislation over my ovaries than guns! Children, babies, kids that lost their futures. Parents that lost the chance to see their children graduate, now they have to experience planning a funeral.
The WHEELS community walked out for Parkland when we were in 7th grade. And we stood there, where you all are. Standing in silence for the lives lost. We walked out hoping for a change. Our own community years later, now in 2022, withstood gun violence as well — where some months ago our community dealt with a shelter-in, due to a shooting that occurred across the street from the annex, where children as young as five were studying.
Not so long ago, a known member of our community, Jason Rivera, unfortunately passed away as a result of gun violence while he was on duty. Here we are, four years after Parkland, some months after the shootings that impacted our WHEELS family, and we’re looking for the same change yet again! This should not be a cycle! This should not be a continuing pattern!
We’re here using our voices to ask for actual legislative change. Gun violence has been occurring for far too long. Laws need to be put into place, ensuring the safety of all — us included. Laws that, if in place beforehand, could’ve prevented the deaths of the 10 victims at Buffalo. Laws that, if in place, would have prevented the death of the 19 children and two teachers at Uvalde. We stand here today for:
Makenna Lee Elrod
Jailah Nicole Silguero
Jayce Carmelo Luevanos
Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares
Eliahana Cruz Torres
Amerie Jo Garza
Xavier James Lopez
Alexandria Aniyah Rubio
Let’s have a moment of silence for these victims.