ST. LOUIS — High school students from across the region gathered in St. Louis to make a statement: end gun violence.
The group of students was joined by community members, leaders and law enforcement at Wohl Recreation Center in north St. Louis. They marched to Cardinal Ritter College Prep to finish the ceremony. Cardinal Ritter students began organizing after Isis Mahr, a recent graduate, was killed in October.
"This brings joy," said Kenneth White III, a Cardinal Ritter senior. “It brings excitement. It's not just one thing that made everyone come out. It's a collaboration with all communities all the schools. The schools gathered as one to make a huge change. Every time you spoke of her. People knew of her. She brought the best out of you"
White was pleased that teens of all backgrounds showed up to support the same common message. One of the most powerful voices who spoke today was Atif Mahr, Isis’ father. He’s spent over a decade running the “Stop The Violence” program at Wohl.
“I said I hope I would never have to put my daughter's face on a T-shirt,” Mahr said. “My family take these T-shirts off because (constant gun violence) is not the norm! We as adults have to meet you at social media. But you as youth must step out of your bounds and say... That isn’t cool what you’re doing.”
The crowd gave him a standing ovation. After he spoke, the stage was turned over to the teens, the generation tasked with solving this complex problem.
"We've had enough of this. We feel like enough is enough,” White said. “This is happening too much, too much around the world. This is a very common thing. It has become a norm.”
White said more events just like this are in the works for 2022.