Imagine it being your first day of preschool. Your nerves are tingling, your excitement hitting it's peak, and the anticipation of meeting new friends is quite high. You're walking to school, with your mom, and the world seems magical because you're starting something new, something that can catapult you towards your journey through school. The smell of the fresh dew is wafting through the air, you're holding your mom's hand and she smiles at you, reassuring you that everything is going to be alright. Or so you believe.
A man comes up to you, hooded, it's dark so you cannot fully see his face but you know something is not right. He stops you and your mom, you're afraid, the hairs at the back of your neck standing in attention. He pulls out a gun and you both freeze. You look up at your mom, your hero, someone who isn't afraid of anything, but she's trembling, pleading, and it all resonates on you: this could be the end.
How could it be the end when your life is simply starting? He takes your mom's wallet, promising that if she screams he'd shoot her right here. Your lungs burn, your tears fall, and he takes something from you that day...something that may not ever be replaced.
Alone this year, in Chicago, there have been over 454 shootings. This story was told to me and I cannot begin to imagine the fear this child experienced. This is something that NO child, adult, human, should ever have to go through.
Therefore, when I was approached with the opportunity to march against gun violence in schools I had to accept. As a teacher it is my mission to not only educate my students, but make sure they feel as safe as possible. School can already be difficult, but adding fear only worsens the equation.
This weekend I marched for my students. For people who may not have lived to tell their tale. Sometimes, as adults, as teachers, as parents, it's important to listen and remember that all stories deserve the right to be told.
I am a teacher and I believe enough is enough.