Gun violence is one of the biggest issues facing our country. And there seems to be no solution. A new generation of student activists is vowing to change that.
New York City students walked out of class in solidarity with hundreds of thousands around the country over gun violence, one month after the Parkland massacre. Nupol Kiazolu, whose father was shot and killed when she was 8, was among them.
“I’m still not fully there when it comes to healing and dealing with my father being killed,” said Kiazolu, a senior at Nelson Mandela School for Social Change. “But I’m using the pain that I’ve experienced and am still experiencing over his loss to help me and push me forward.”
Students from the city and suburbs gathered at an after-school rally organized by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. More blacks are killed by guns than whites. And their murders are often ignored. But Adams believes the students may be helping to right old wrongs.
“I think that Parkland was an awakening for many that finally heard the cries of those in the urban centers across America,” Adams said. “And now that connection is allowing a mass movement that I believe finally we’ll see a movement in the gun reform conversation.”
While students in low-income communities of color are often exposed to gun violence at an early age, it was a new experience for many of the Parkland students. Yet students from diverse backgrounds are now standing together for change.
“The face of gun violence looks a lot different than the people who are actually dealing with it,” City Council Member Jumaane Williams, a candidate for lieutenant governor, said. “And so my hope is that this bridge does occur.”
Assault rifles, like the one used in Parkland, are the main focus of the gun reform conversation. Adams, a former NYPD captain and a gun owner, said he hopes that focus is expanded.
“The urban problem are 9mm handguns, .380s, .38s—no one is having a conversation about that,” Adams said. “And so our legislators cannot be lost in the emotion of the suburban and rural problem and ignore the urban problem.”
The students seem certain that this time enough really is enough.
“This is something that is going to result in generational impact,” Kiazolu said. “So for future generations to come, we won’t have to experience anything like this.”
FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers
NUPOL KIAZOLU, Activist, Student, and President, Black Lives Matter NY Youth Coalition https://twitter.com/nupol_justice
JUMAANE WILLIAMS, City Council Member https://twitter.com/JumaaneWilliams
JERMEL HOWARD, Actor https://twitter.com/JermelHoward
ERIC ADAMS, Brooklyn Borough President and former NYPD Captain https://twitter.com/BPEricAdams