Apex Students Memorialize, Take Action Against Gun Violence
By: Kate Sinodis and Rose Andrews
On Thursday, May 26th, a few days after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Apex High School held a memorial, as well as an informative event in the courtyard during both lunches in order to honor those who died, and to serve as a call to action for change.
Students Emma Fornes, Stanley Wilson, and Sundari Chandrashekaran planned the event the night before it occurred. The event included information booths, access to the school counselors, an expression wall, guest speakers Council Member Cheryl Stallings and Mayor Jacques Gilbert, and a moment of silence in honor of the victims following the speakers. Students were also asked to wear orange on Thursday in honor of the victims of the Uvalde shooting.
Mayor Gilbert’s speech was about not turning this tragedy into an outlet for political gain, and honoring those who lost their lives. The mayor also spoke about when he was in high school, and how Columbine happened when he was a student at Apex, and the fear that it created. “Hate is causing the issue,” he adds. The speech was also a call to action and of hope, “You may have an idea that sparks an entire community, even a state and even a nation. So don’t be afraid to step forward and do it, but once you do that, don’t let it evaporate. As I mentioned today, keep going, stay consistent, because there will be another cycle, over and over and over again, so if we can save one life by what you come up with, you’re succeeding.” He ended his speech with a call to action. “I’m asking you to join Councilwoman Stallings and I for change, not just today, but tomorrow”
The booths in the courtyard on Thursday included a booth in rememberance of those that lost their lives in Texas, a counselor booth where students could talk to one of the school counselors about their concerns on the situation if they needed someone to talk to, and a take action booth, where students can write and send out letters and emails to their state representatives about their thoughts and concerns on gun violence in an effort to make a change. The booth featured QR codes for many representative’s information, along with their addresses as well.
After the speeches and moment of silence, Mayor Gilbert and Councilmember Stallings stayed around and helped pass out materials for letters to the North Carolina representatives, as well as answer some questions. When talking to Ms. Stallings, she had told us to “stay engaged, don’t give up, keep raising your voice, consistently. You know, like the mayor said, we gotta consistently keep raising our voices and demand change cause if we don’t, nothing will happen.”
Ms. Hoffman even had a message, for the students at Apex High, “don’t become numb. don’t let this become just another tragic event that we send our prayers to that community, because we don’t ever want it to come closer to home and the only way that’s gonna do that is if we continue to care and continue to move and continue to act, so don’t stop acting.”