Students hold gun protest and vigil for 17 lost lives

Students from across the county joined together on Friday evening at Curtis Hixon Park to protest gun violence as well as hold a vigil for the 17 lost lives from the Stoneman Douglas shooting. The event hosted more than 150 people which included students from Hillsborough, Blake, Freedom, Tampa Preparatory, Spoto and many other bystanders who chose to take a stand.

The protest and vigil would not have been possible if not for Safiyyah Ameer, a freshman at Blake High School. Ameer held and organized an after school walkout from Blake to Curtis Hixon Park where students protested against the NRA and called for more efficient gun laws.

“When I found out what happened the night after the Douglas shooting went down, I knew I had to do something,” said Ameer. “I knew I could do it, I knew I needed to do it.”

So she did it. With the help of Hillsborough junior, Alex Barrow, Ameer planned a successful event which ignited change among her peers. Following the protest, Ameer held a press conference where students from multiple schools, including Hillsborough, gave speeches on their views on the many shootings that have taken place and the gun law status in the U.S.

“How many more Columbines, Sandy Hooks, Stoneman Douglases, will it take for anything to be done? How many more kids will die before legislators do anything. 17 students, teachers and staff member were killed last week,” said junior, Catherine Discenza.  “Don’t let them become just another statistic. Don’t let one of us just become another statistic.”

After a few tribute performances that include poetry and music, Ameer held a vigil which lasted roughly 17 minutes. One minute for each life lost. For each life, a student speaker shed light on the past of each individual. The atmosphere was heavy as many lamented in the memories of the loved.

The multiple shootings that have occurred and the constant dismissal of gun laws by legislators has not silenced this generation. It has only fueled them.

“I guarantee you that our fight won’t end. We won’t stop protesting, we won’t stop rallying and we won’t stop calling for change until real progress has been made. I urge the Florida state legislators to do so before the next gun threat reaches your front door, and what the hell will you do next,” said junior, Delores Battle.