Students at a Bronx prep school took to the streets Tuesday in response to the shooting deaths of two of their fellow classmates over the past year. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Students from Validus Preparatory Academy marched through the streets of the Bronx urging their neighbors, especially other teenagers, to stop the gun violence.
"It means that we are making a change, we are standing up for ourselves, we have a voice," said one student.
It's a voice to say no to guns and no to violence. The demonstration was called "Violence Awareness 101" and was a tribute to two students from the school who were shot and killed in separate incidents last year.
Martin Jackson, 18, was shot to death after a dance competition in Crotona Park in May and Nadairee Walters, 17, was shot at a house party in November. Both students were scheduled to graduate from the high school in June.
"It makes me feel real bad, now that I have lost a friend very close to me, it is very painful," said one student.
"My brother also died because of a gun. It is enough, it should be enough already. I am tired of losing all of my friends to guns," said another student.
School officials say unfortunately many students witness violence in their neighborhoods every day. This demonstration is an effort to try and change that reality by promoting education over violence.
"There is hope. We have a graduating class of approximately 80 seniors this year and that is great. We are looking forward to sending them off to college," said Andrea Hines, a social worker at Validus Preparatory Academy.
The students, along with teachers, parents, community advocates and police marched to the park where Martin Jackson was shot.
"They have to come out here and become advocates and future leaders and voices for those who have died to gun violence who don't have voices," said Gloria Cruz, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.
"Working together in partnership we are going to be able to assist each other in our common goal which is to be safe," said Lieutenant Jose Torres, NYPD Community Affairs Bureau.
Police say they did make an arrest in Walters death. They are still looking for whoever shot Jackson.