October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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Angelina Lazo

February 14, 2018. I woke up late for school, crying that I didn’t want to go. I had no idea why I woke up so sad that morning. I went to school late, dolled up for Valentine’s Day. Last class of the day, AP Government. We were going over a review for our next test. I heard the fire alarm go off, which was weird for that time of day. We went to our designated area, until we heard the sounds of sirens and helicopters. We were told to evacuate, but no one knew what was going on. My mom called me saying there’s an active shooter. I was puzzled as to how she would know that and we didn’t. It wasn’t until we had to walk up against a chain fence so we wouldn’t fall in the canal, then run, that I realized it was real.

Swat everywhere, panic in everyone’s faces, people on phones talking to loved ones. I tried to stay calm for my friends I was with. I took my friend’s hand and just said, “We have to get out of here.” My dad called me to see if I was OK, and he said they found out who it was. I told my friends the name that would haunt me forever.

Sirens everywhere. The sound of the cops’ radios around us. It wasn’t until two hours later I got to be with my family. I went home and had the news on for hours, only looking away for food and restroom. I got only two hours of sleep that night because one of my friends was missing. I woke up around 5 the next morning to the news that my friend who was missing was one of the 17 victims. I don’t think I ever cried that hard in my life. I saw people later that day outside on a corner near the school, holding signs. I joined them every day until we could go back to school. Seeing your friend in a casket, looking just how he always had with his dark hair and eyelashes. The day we could go back to school, all I could remember was the halls filled with people, students, teachers, security, yet everything and everywhere, silent. Sitting in English class where Joaquin and Meadow would be. Only to sit in a class with everyone looking at the floor and the sound of sobs. I never knew my life could change forever the way it did.

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