WASHINGTON — As Washington, D.C. grapples with more teenagers dying from gun violence in the last few weeks, Anacostia High students are demanding action from city leaders.
To them, it's a personal mission.
"I have to come to school and another person has passed away," senior Kamryn Anthony said.
Just last week, her friend, 15-year-old Thomas Johnson, was shot to death near Nationals Park.
Anthony and some of her friends decided to hold a rally at the school Friday to demand action from city and school leaders.
Anthony, four of her friends, and three staff members sat down with WUSA 9's Jess Arnold Thursday to talk about the impact gun violence has had on them and what they plan to do.
When asked, every single person in the group said they had lost a friend to gun violence.
"It’s like a recurring cycle that happens every year, and I’m honestly tired of it," senior Aliyah Clark said. "So, I want to use what I know to actually make change happen before it’s too late or before another child falls victim to it."
To push forward meaningful change, the group plans to present a list of eight demands:
- Strengthen safe passage
- Provide transportation for kids after school
- Provide more programs for kids that they're interested in
- Keep the school open longer on Friday nights to give students a safe space
- Monthly mental health check-ups
- School representatives to be more involved in students' mental and physical health
- Speak to the chancellor to connect more about our safety
- Demand the mayor to listen to us
"These are the basic laws of safety," Anthony said. "We want to get home safely. We want to have a place for us to be safe, and if she can’t execute these, then what can she really do for us?"
Her school psychologist and the new Student Experience Coach for Anacostia High's new Redesign program, Byron McClure, said he supports these students standing up for themselves.
"You all deserve a quality education and not have to worry about any of the other things going on in the outside world," he said to the group. "So, I’m proud of you all for saying this is what we need, and holding those people who are making decisions accountable."
The students have invited the DCPS chancellor, ANC chancellors, council members, Moms Demand Action, and other community leaders to join in Friday's rally.
The public is welcome.