Suicides, marches, and a polarized gun control debate – all by-products of America’s gun violence epidemic.
In 2018 the city of Parkland, Florida witnessed one of the deadliest shooting massacres in U.S. history.
A year later activists and students meet at a hunger strike camp, to reflect on their pain and how to move forward.
CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez has the story from Miami.
It’s been a year since thousands of students gathered for March for Our Lives events in Washington, D.C. and across the country, demanding change to gun control legislation.
It was the nation’s response to the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history. Seventeen students and faculty were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
On the anniversary of March For Our Lives, Florida’s activism has turned into cries of despair after two Parkland survivors committed suicide last week.
The impact of gun violence is also being felt in Liberty City, a Miami town where nine men have been on a hunger strike to raise awareness about gun violence within their community.
“These children live in these areas, what people see on the news as horrific, is normal life to them but what we don’t know and what they don’t know, is the trauma that I’ve lived with all my life for being raised in an area where killing is normal.They don’t flinch when they hear gun shots,” Albert Campbell, one of the Hunger 9 activists said.
Two different groups connected that Sunday over trauma and pain. Lauren Hogg a sophomore at Stoneman Douglas shared her frustration, “Even the other week, I had a panic attack in school, I went to get mental health help at school and they turned me away because they said I didn’t have an appointment. That’s what I’m seeing from a first-hand point of view.”
Parkland students visited the Hunger 9 camp. They refused to publicly discuss the recent suicides in their school, instead, they listened. It was another lesson on gun violence, as Samantha Novick admitted during their meeting, “I feel so much guilt because, I seat in this bubble, I grew up in Parkland and never thought of the gun violence epidemic. It was something that was not on my radar at all, I didn’t know it was such a pervasive issue, which is so ignorant of me.Today I drove 30 minutes south and you’re talking about every night you sleep, you hear gun shots and I feel guilty for that.”
There were over 57,000 gun-related incidents in the U.S. last year and nearly fifteen thousand of them resulted in fatalities, according to the Gun Violence Archive. For many in the community and Parkland survivors, the march for change will take time as the path forward remains unclear.