Good morning, Bulletin readers. On the anniversary of the Parkland shooting, we are giving over today’s newsletter to some of the teen journalists who have been reporting on the deaths of their peers for the past year. Please spend some time with their work today.
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“Kids Keep Getting Killed by Guns. As Teen Journalists, We Had to Tell Their Stories.”
Allie told the story of Owen Propes, a toddler in Tesuque, New Mexico, pictured on Facebook stuffing a tiny fistful of cereal — or maybe Goldfish crackers — into his mouth.
Joe wrote about 16-year-old Loyd Drain III from Brooklyn, New York, who died in his home alongside his father and niece after being shot by his half-brother.
Nadia told the story of 18-year-old Hunter Black, who was murdered in Kennewick, Washington, months before the birth of his child.
Jimmy wrote about Shana Lorraine Fisher, a 16-year-old who was shot alongside nine others at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, after rebuffing the romantic advances of the shooter weeks before.
Madison reported on Tarique Morris of Youngstown, Ohio, who was only 3 months old.
Born in the wake of Columbine, and sharing a nation with survivors of Parkland and Sandy Hook, young people in America today are so frequently confronted with murder in our schools and streets that we have a tendency to go numb. We’ve seen peers become victims, their lives reduced to statistics cited in political noise and cheap clickbait.
For every toddler caught in the crossfire, every fourth-grader gunned down in her home, every high school student murdered, we felt this consuming hopelessness. We were frightened. Angry. Frustrated. Powerless.
With “Since Parkland,” we’ve channeled those feelings into an effort to honor the youngest victims of gun violence. We joined more than 200 other teenage journalists to work with editors at The Trace and The Miami Herald to document the toll of gun violence on American kids.
At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School one year ago today, 17 people were killed, 14 of them students. School shootings like it are unfathomable tragedies. But the gun violence affecting young people in our country is much broader. This project includes more than 1,200 profiles of children fatally shot during the past 12 months. Most of these young people were not shot at school, but at home, on the street, with friends, or while riding bicycles. Each victim deserves your attention.
Our goal in memorializing them was to counteract the numbness that seeps into the discussion around gun violence. Names, faces, experiences, aspirations, even mistakes are what comprise the lives we lose every day. In telling their stories, we want to overwhelm you. We want you to feel that every child’s gun death is unacceptable.
This project speaks for those who can no longer speak for themselves. It’s not political. It’s human. Children are dying. They should get to grow up. Training wheels, skinned knees. Middle school, graduation. First love, heartbreak.
We’re still frightened, angry, and frustrated. But if Since Parkland has taught us anything, it’s that we’re not powerless. We can bring awareness to the true scope of the issue. Student journalists have that power. We refuse to stand idly by.
—Madison Hahamy, Allie Kelly, Joe Meyerson, Nadia Ngom, and Jimmy Rodgers