On April 30, 2019, I was going through my last day of class on UNC Charlotte’s campus. Around 5:30 p.m., I was walking to sit in my favorite spot in the Kennedy building while I waited for a friend. I never made it inside. I was about 50 feet from the entrance when I heard the screams. The screams and the cries of those that were around me have caused many sleepless nights. The cries of those I spent hours barricaded with still ring in my ears. Sadly, hours later, we learned two had died and four were wounded.
I still live with the trauma, four years later. Speaking up about gun violence is important because one of the strongest feelings I had was being ashamed. I was embarrassed by my PTSD and the anxiety I had afterwards. I was scared to ask for help, scared to speak out because I felt alone. Even now I hate that I still feel like this. I assume it’s going to happen again, everywhere I go, everything I do. It is obvious what we need to do. What will it take for people to speak out?
Rest in Peace, Riley and Reed.