Above, Hayley Licata, left, and Mia Freeman, juniors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., share their stories of the Feb. 14 shooting at their school.
Sharing their stories publicly for the first time since the Feb. 14 mass shooting at their school, two juniors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High talked Friday about school safety to students in Los Angeles.
Mia Freeman and Hayley Licata spoke at Shalhevet High School, a private Modern Orthodox Jewish school in the Fairfax District.
L.A. Unified School Board Vice President Nick Melvoin, who is a member of the Jewish Center for Justice, helped to organize the visit.
“Until this year, Feb. 14 was a day that represented love and happiness,” Freeman said. “Now, each year, it will represent a recurring nightmare in our minds. Although the memory of that day will never fade for us, we have the chance now to shape a better future.”
The students, who will take part in Saturday’s March for Our Lives in Downtown Los Angeles, also took questions from the audience and explained how they found the strength to take action in the wake of the tragedy that left 17 people dead.
“This is the first time I am speaking at a school – or anywhere – about this,” Licata said. “For a long time I just couldn’t talk about it because of all the pain. But I am here because I want to honor the 17 angels who lost their lives on that day. Everything I do now, I do it for them.”
Last week, the School Board passed a resolution by Melvoin calling for stricter state and federal gun control laws and the formation of a task force to recommend strategies for strengthening school safety plans.
He applauded the students for making their voices heard.
“It is inspiring to see the student activism across the nation,” Melvoin said. “The strength and courage these students are showing today is what I have the privilege of seeing in our classrooms every day. It shows us that the future is bright and that our students will lead us on a better path forward.”