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I used to live in Parkland, Florida. To be clear, I was not present at the time of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting; my classmates from elementary and middle school were. A handful of them were wounded, two of whom passed away. My best friend saw the carnage firsthand.

Hearing the news while I was in a different country made me feel helpless, but not shocked. I knew that school shootings were prevalent in America. I just didn’t think much about it until I was affected personally. Since then, I have moved back to the States, and my secondary PTSD has made it very difficult to sit inside an American-formatted classroom. Sometimes I have to skip classes to get through the day. Of the four countries I have lived in throughout the course of my life, only one of them makes me this afraid of being shot during school hours: the United States of America. School shootings are real, my friends aren’t crisis actors, and we are living with the trauma and grief every day of our lives. Through Everytown, I hope that we can heal and eventually use our voices to stop this from happening again.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.