You shouldn’t know my name, Aalayah Eastmond. But you do.
I shouldn’t have been that student that ran into a corner as bullets sprayed in the hallway. But I was.
I shouldn’t have been that student who hid under the body of my murdered classmate in order to survive. But I was.
I shouldn’t have been that student who had body parts of my classmate picked out of my hair. But I was.
My mom shouldn’t have been that parent panicking that her daughter was murdered 15 years after my uncle was shot and killed. But she was.
You shouldn’t know my name. But you do. And because you do, I’m going to fight every single day to make sure that no one else has to be known because their classmates were shot and murdered.
I was in Room 1214 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School studying Holocaust History when bullets started flying. The shooter killed Nicholas Dworet, the hero that saved my life, and Helena Ramsay who was in my class as well, along with 15 other classmates and staff members.
"I’ve rallied outside Congress, urging the people who are supposed to represent us to do something — anything — to give us the change that we need."
On March 24, along with 800,000 other people, I marched in Washington, DC. I marched for Nicholas and our fallen MSD Eagles, as well as urban communities and other places that have been affected by gun violence.
Since then, I’ve continued to fight. I’ve protested in front of the National Rifle Association’s headquarters outside Washington, where they work to make sure that nothing changes and nothing gets any better.
I’ve rallied outside Congress, urging the people who are supposed to represent us to do something — anything — to give us the change that we need.
I’ve joined other student advocates to start Team ENOUGH, a new group that will give students across the country a voice and a platform to push for real change.
"I am a survivor of gun violence, but 17 of my classmates and teachers are not."
And June 2, we’ll march again in New York to raise attention to the gun violence that urban communities have to deal with every single day.
I am a survivor of gun violence, but 17 of my classmates and teachers are not, as well as my uncle who was shot 15 years ago.
My life has been changed forever, just like the lives of over 3,000 students and staff members at Stoneman Douglas. I’m here today thanks to Nicholas, and I am going to make my voice heard until things change. And I’m glad to know that there are great organizations on our side, and I’m looking forward to seeing how many Americans join our efforts.
You shouldn’t know my name, but you do. And you’ll keep hearing my name until the shooting stops.
This op-ed solely reflects the views of the author, and is part of a larger, feminist discourse.