Isabella Casella and Aiden Meyer at the Protest

By Bella Casella

I was born March 7, 2000 in Miami, Florida. Since then, there have been 212 school shootings in the United States. In the 212 school shootings, 267 people have been killed and 388 have been injured.

I recently turned 18. At 18, there are certain things I’m legally not allowed to do. I can’t drink alcohol. In certain states I can’t buy tobacco. I can’t drive a bus, but at 18, I can buy a gun.

On March 14, we read the names of the 17 victims in the Parkland shooting in an attempt to honor them. There have been 267 victims in school shootings since I was born. I wish I knew the names of all the people who have died. I wish I could respect them by saying their names out loud to prove to myself that they are not being neglected by their country, but they are.

Until we have stricter gun laws, we are disrespecting those who died.

By not changing the system that lead to their death, we are saying their lives weren’t worth change. I want to honor them, all 267 of them, by protesting to make sure this country’s gun problem is finally acknowledged. Since I was born there have been 32 mass shootings, where at least four people were killed. When will we realize that tweeting condolences and bragging about our prayers on Facebook won’t stop the next group of people from dying?

I am proud to stand behind the Parkland survivors in support of change. Never before have survivors of gun violence stayed on the national agenda for so long. By being a part of these protests we are saying enough is enough and that this issue can’t be swept aside anymore.

On March 7, when I turned 18, Courtlin Arrington, a 17- year-old girl, was shot and killed at Huffman High School in Alabama. It was deemed accidental, but nevertheless Courtlin Arrington will never get the chance to turn 18.

At 18 there are certain things I’m legally allowed to do. I can get married without parental consent. I can serve on a jury. I can vote.

Courtlin Arrington will never get the chance to do any of those things.


Bella Casella is an MPH senior who helped organize today’s walk out.