Over 200 students gathered from our Metro area schools and made their way to the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. on March 24, where hundreds of thousands of students from all over the U.S. gathered in a powerful effort to protest against gun violence. Andre Broadnax, an 11th grade student, born and raised in the Camden Community and attends Fair Downtown High School, was among many of the passionate youth who felt empowered to make their voices heard through the streets of the U.S. Capital.
Andre said, “It all started at a program I attend called (NAZ) Northside Achievement Zone. I was asked to give my feedback on the “Let’s Unpack” podcast about gun violence in Minneapolis schools. From there I was invited to Washington, D.C. and I was excited because I wanted to do something good, to be a part of something big. Here in Minnesota it seems like nobody cares, but there, where all the big transactions of America take place, people seemed to care.”
Never before have students in North Minneapolis been given such an opportunity to participate on such an enormous platform, a platform that allowed them to express their anger and sorrow regarding an issue that effects the lives of youth everyday. According to Protect Minnesota, guns kill nearly 10 times more Black children than white children every year and Black men are 14 times more likely than white men to be murdered with a gun.
Protect Minnesota chartered the buses, and along with the fundraising efforts of MNever Again and Northside Achievement Zone, students from Patrick Henry High, North High and Sibley High School were able to attend this event. Andre said, “When we were in D.C., I created the slogan “kill the guns not the people.” Although I believe in the second amendment, I feel there needs to be a ‘Firearm Task Force’ just to monitor gun safety. Making the gun laws stricter doesn’t change those who already own guns. When I listened to the students on stage sharing their stories, it made me feel like America is lacking, and even though we marched it didn’t seem to be any plans for change, so I wonder, what now?”
Protect Minnesota is an organization devoted to gun violence prevention, their mission is to promote a culture of health and safety for all Minnesotans by preventing gun violence through research, legislation, education and community investment. You can get involved and share your voice on April 29 for the event Gun Violence: Leading the Conversation which will take place at Shir Tikvah Synagogue from 3 to 5 p.m. To learn more about upcoming events go to protectmn.org or call 651-645-3271.
“When you get a big voice, it’s hard to ignore it” Andre Broadnax
This article was written by Niema Broadnax