20 years after the Columbine shooting in Colorado, teenagers in San Diego are taking a stand against gun violence.
On Saturday, students, teachers and parents at Hoover High School in City Heights, held a Peace Conference Against Gun Violence.
“Everyone is against gun violence, but what are we going to do about it? What are the solutions?” said Cornelius Bowser, a gun violence prevention activist.
Bowser, along with students, helped organized the first ever Peace Conference in City Heights.
Students heard from safety advocates, and participated in a series of workshops. The workshops touched on a variety of subjects, including, causes of violence, and mental trauma caused by violence.
“For a long time, it was a hidden topic, but with so many school shootings going around, it brought up the topic more, so more people want to speak about it,” said Machair Ahmat Adam, a Hoover High School sophomore student.
Student activists like Adam said they are motivated to speak out, because of friends who have been affected by violence.
“I just had elementary schoolers ask how they could help. That really inspired me because as a kid when I was young, I was never exposed to this topic of gun violence,” Adam said.
Students also learned about political activism. Some spent the morning spray painting protest signs. They also heard from adult activists, who offered advice on creating safer neighbourhoods.
“It’s easier to pick up a gun for our youth today when they get angry than to sit down and talk to someone. We want to turn that around,” said Bowser.
With peaceful interaction, young people at Hoover High School are learning, through peaceful interaction, hot to break the cycle of violence at school and at home.
Teachers and student activists are hoping to make the Peace Conference Against Gun Violence a yearly event in City Heights.