Student Survivors Bring Their Message to Build & Strengthen a Coalition with NJ Students
[Newark, NJ – April 14, 2018] High schools students from across Newark converged at Science Park High School on Saturday for a forum against gun violence featuring Jaclyn Corin and Alfonso Calderon, both survivors of the Parkland Massacre in Florida.
The forum, which was attended by hundreds of Newark youth, was designed to allow New Jersey students to dialogue and develop coalitions in New Jersey and across the state to stop the spread of gun violence and to demand stricter gun laws.
This student-led conversation on gun violence is aimed at strengthening the student voice and identifying solutions nationally and locally. The visit from Parkland students comes just two weeks after a massive rally in Newark as part of the March For Our Lives demonstrations across the country.
“The voices of Newark youth will have a transformative impact on the future of gun violence in the world,” said Kim Gaddy, Newark Board member and co-organizer of the event at Science Park High School. “They have the opportunity to correct the legislative injustices and prevent the future killing of individuals to gun violence,” Gaddy said.
Interim Superintendent Robert Gregory and Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka both addressed the student-only audience. The focus of the meeting is to share the latest with the students, listen to their concerns and to form a collaborative to address gun violence and gun policy going forward.
“Gun violence is becoming a national epidemic. It is time for the students to be heard as we are the ones being targeted. Newark students stand together to demand change,” said Jubilee R., a Science Park High School Student.
“We are so excited to speak with students from Essex County, as the youth is the future,” said Jacklyn Corin, one of the Parkland survivors. “We came all the way from Parkland to make sure everyone knows the importance of their voice and their vote.”
“It truly is an honor to have the privilege and opportunity to be able to speak to the students of Newark,” said Alfonso Calderon, another of the Parkland survivors. “Hopefully we will be able to reach the kids who are and will be the future of our country on the issues that truly matter such as voting and gun reform.”
“One of the things our generation is good at is speaking our mind. We see something we say something,” said Princess Sabaroche, a senior at North Star Academy Charter School and an organizer of the event. “If the government isn’t listening to us now they should be. We see everything, we hear everything. We’re listening and we’re always ready.”
“Common sense gun laws save lives,” Dr. E. Asyah Aquil, president of Essex Million Moms March/Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Jaclyn was a leader in the trip of 100 classmates to the Florida State Capital soon after the Parkland shooting and a leader in the #NeverAgain movement, speaking at the Washington, D.C. rally. Alfonso is a founder of the March for Our Lives committee and has worked since the shooting to prevent gun violence, as well.