As my generation has grown up, we have had to bear witness to more and more reports of gun violence—like the school shooting Friday in Santa Fe, Texas.
This is an issue so many people stand for, because it comes down to one basic thing: safety.
Gun violence affects our communities and our lives every single day. Something as simple as going to a concert, a club and even school leaves teens like myself questioning whether or not we will come home at the end of the day.
Our country has experienced tragedy after tragedy, and they have only instilled more fear within us. Time that would be used to educate students in the classroom is now occupied by discussing how to be prepared if a shooter comes on campus.
Our country has normalized it, but it is not normal. We should not dismiss these tragedies because similar events have happened so often—it is time for change.
This change is starting—it has begun—and the marches that have happened across the nation are a start. Being able to attend the March for Our Lives event in Washington D.C. earlier this year with hundreds of thousands of people, including the survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, was overwhelming, but in the best way. It filled me with inspiration, and hope for change.
I have come home to California ready to continue fighting for my community and the safety of us all.
Maritza Duran, 17, is a member of the Ventura County Youth Collective and the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy.