TACOMA, Wash. – Following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people, teenagers across the country are taking action and holding their elected officials accountable for making them feel safe on campus, including a Tacoma college freshman.
Most college students don’t spend weekend nights tweaking campaigns to push for safer schools, but that’s exactly what 18-year-old Gracie Anderson, a political science freshman at Pacific Lutheran University has been spending all her time on since the Florida school shooting.
“This time is different. In the past, there’s a lot of sadness and a lot of fear and now there’s a lot of anger,” said Anderson.
School safety hits home for Anderson who says her entire family spends their days on a school campus.
“My mom and my dad both work at a school, and my little sister is at a school,” said Anderson.
As a university student herself, she says she is disappointed and frustrated.
“Could it be us next?” she says she wonders while she’s at school.
She says the youth voice is now coming to the forefront of a national conversation out of necessity.
“I think we’ve waited for adults to make the change, and we haven’t seen it happen, and we just want a solution,” said Anderson.
Anderson admits she doesn’t know what the solution is, but her campaign “Will My School Be Next,” is a start to find one. It’s encouraging youth across the country to get involved and fight to end gun violence in schools.
“What we’re doing now is this social media campaign with the signs, hashtags, and photos, as well as going into schools. And we’re writing letters to our legislators and signing petitions to our legislation to ask them to put this at the top of their list of priorities,” said Anderson.
Anderson says she knows the road to end gun violence will be tough, but she’s confident it will happen because young people are speaking up.
“I have the most faith in the youth voice, and I believe in us so strongly,” said Anderson.