Leaders from the recently formed Students Demand Action Grain Valley chapter attended Gun Sense University training in Washington, D.C. this past weekend.
Students Demand Action is affiliated with the national Moms Demand Action organization. Grain Valley High School (GVHS) student Shaley Harper is the President of the new chapter in Grain Valley.
“I decided to start this chapter because gun violence is an issue that I'm very passionate about. Emma Howell is our Vice President, and she also attended GSU with me. Addy Blackmore is our Secretary and Liberty Rogers is our Treasurer. Our Advisor at GVHS is Mrs. Dealy,” Harper said.
“At GSU (Gun Sense University) Emma and I were able to meet student leaders like ourselves from across the nation. We were also connected with several Moms Demand Action leaders. Emma and I attended different classes so that we could gain as much new information as possible and afterwards we came together with what we had learned,” Harper said.
The Grain Valley chapter plans to host a Voter Registration Drive at GVHS, attend school board meetings as a group, and work to educate their peers on gun violence.
Harper and Howell were in D.C. with thousands of other members of Mothers Demand Action and Students Demand Action while the nation experienced back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio..
“Experiencing two mass shootings while at GSU was really heartbreaking. As the El Paso shooting started, all 2000 of us were in the ballroom having lunch. A lady come to the microphone to tell us what was currently happening. The entire room went cold and silent. All of the leaders from Texas were devastated, and they all left the ballroom so they could spend some time together alone. It was really scary in that moment, especially for them, because the shooting was still active. They were all trying to make sure their families were safe,” Harper said.
“When the shooting in Dayton, Ohio happened, it was a different experience. We weren't all in the same room when it happened, so many of us learned about the shooting on our own. Sunday afternoon, Emma and I met a Moms Demand Action leader from Dayton. She and her family were unable to get ahold of her brother-in-law since the shooting had happened. Seeing the fear in her eyes was soul-shattering.”
For more information on Moms Demand Action the Students Demand Action, visit www.momsdemandaction.org.
Left to right: Shaley Harper, President of the Students Demand Action Grain Valley chapter, Emma Howell, Vice President. Harper and Howell attended Gun Sense University in Washington DC the first week of August. Photo courtesy: Shaley Harper.