By Sara Brown
Revere High School senior Christian Sawyer considers himself a student activist, which is why he had to be at the March For Our Lives on March 27. “I knew I just had to be there,” he said. Thousands of students took to the streets of Boston to protest gun violence, in an event which was organized to show support for the survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last month that left 17 people dead.
“It was amazing to see so many of my peers use their voice for something good,” said Sawyer.
Sawyer said he grew up in a post-9/11 generation that doesn’t know what it feels like to feel safe and secure. “School shootings are a common thing for us,” he said. “This isn’t right. We should feel safe wherever we go.”
Sawyer wants commonsense gun laws to be put in place and also doesn’t feel like arming teachers would make students safer. In fact, he worries that it could cause more problems. He also believes no citizen needs guns like AR-15s. “Anyone who thinks they need an AR-15 to protect themselves has a big misunderstanding of what those guns are supposed to do,” he said.
Sawyer also took part in the student walkout on March 14. Since school was canceled because of a snowstorm, the walkout happened outside the steps of City Hall.
“I think its great people are beginning to listen to our voices,” he said. “I really do think we can make a difference if we speak our minds.”
Sophomore Ava Hoops said gun violence in America is an epidemic. “Why do we not continually check in with people who have these deadly weapons?” she asked at the walkout in front of City Hall. “The second amendment does not universally grant the right to everyone to own a gun.”
She said she is tired of lawmakers not taking students’ opinions seriously because they are considered kids and are not mature enough to understand complicated issues like gun laws. “Now is the time to prove that is incorrect,” she said. “We are so tired of thoughts and prayers. We want actions.”
Revere High School teacher Nancy Barile said she is proud of the students who have protested. “I was extremely proud of the students who participated in the Walkout,” she said. “Their speeches were powerful, articulate and moving. These young Americans truly understand their right to protest, and it is clear they are ready to be the change they want to see in this world. They give me great hope for the future.”
Mayor Brian Arrigo agreed. “I am proud of the advocacy and civic involvement from our students. As a community we are and will always be supportive of our students. Safety in our schools is a priority in Revere and I’m proud of our students for being so thoughtful and engaged,” he said in a statement.