When Emily, a Montclair High senior, recalls the killing of Trayvon Martin and the start of the Black Lives Matter movement, she remembers worrying that her older brother would be similarly targeted. “I think that was when I really started to wake up...I became more worried because of what I looked like.” It was the Parkland students who encouraged Emily to take her first steps toward activism and led her to help organize the MHS walkout on March 14. Afterward, a teacher encouraged her further, “You guys did an amazing job with the walkout, but there are kids who have been trying to do things like this for years and they just haven't been getting attention from it.”
Emily took that message to heart and brought it with her to St. James on the evening of March 24 where hundreds gathered to rally against gun violence. As a speaker, she pleaded with adults to listen. “Listen to the stories of children in Chicago that learn to tend bullet wounds. Listen to the children who Eric Garner left behind. Listen to the students who have been fighting for gun reform for years and have been silenced because of the color of their skin.”
As Emily pushes forward in the movement, working to bridge communities, she responds to the rallying signs that state, “You are the leaders we’ve been waiting for.” Her message: we can’t do this alone – we need your support and activism.