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Students at Rocketship Rise Demand an End to Gun Violence

It’s no secret that there has been an increase in crime and violence across our country, and DC is no exception. The impact has particularly hit home at Rocketship Rise Academy where three overnight shootings have occurred in the community around our campus and even sent bullets into our school. Thankfully, because the incidents occurred overnight during non school hours, no one was hurt. Yet, it is still traumatic for our students, families, and upsetting to our Ward 8 community as a whole.

In an effort to be a part of the change we are seeking in the community, our Rise families, students, and community members came together to stage a peace walk around the Woodland Terrace neighborhood. Ward 8 D.C. Councilmember Trayon White, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services, and other community leaders and stakeholders joined Rocketship Rise parents, staff, neighbors, and students to share their feelings about the recent violence and propose solutions. It was particularly moving to hear from three of our Rocketeers who shared monologues they prepared under the direction of our wonderful theater teacher Britney Ayala. The Washington Informer covered the event:

In speaking about local violence, River, a third grader at Rocketship Rise Academy, said young people desire an environment that will help them grow well into old age. In February, she and her peers will participate in an arts showcase. “We want to live beautiful lives over a long time, try new things, and grow up to have beautiful families,” she told The Informer. “Young people should get to share their thoughts and their voices so people can hear what we have to say. I do my part to let people know how we don’t like the violence.” Armani, standing next to his mother on Tuesday, spoke passionately about his responsibility as a young person. He emphasized what he described as the importance of using his voice to change people’s actions. “I get to influence people and help them stand up,” said Armani, a fourth grader whose monologue vividly conveyed a person’s thoughts at the scene of a shooting. “Gun violence will continue and the population will decrease if we don’t do something. I feel safe at school when I have my amazing teachers, principal and security that ensures my safety.”
The group then walked around the Woodland Terrace Housing Community asking residents to partner together for peace.

This walk is just the beginning. We are continuing to partner with the Metropolitan Police Department, local elected leaders, and numerous community groups to work together towards finding solutions to end the violence in Ward 8 and across our city. Our Rocketeers, our families, and our community have lit the match for community change and we have no doubt there’s much more to come.

Our children deserve a safe place to learn, grow, and just be kids. Together, we can make that dream a reality.

Published on February 16, 2024

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