By: Carly Levy
After losing two of her friends to a school shooter, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas student was inspired to create “I Stand with MSD – Walk for Solidarity” to not only deal with her grief, but so student voices outside of those in the media could be heard.
Coral Springs resident Angelina Lazo, along with her friends created the walk, which will start at North Community Park and end at the school. At the event, teachers and students will be able to speak, then walk hand-in-hand one-half mile to the Parkland school.
Lazo, a senior, started the event after joining a Facebook event “community conversation” where volunteers met to discuss ideas for an event. Lazo said she did not feel like her voice was being heard.
“There’s a group of people on CNN and news media. People want to hear from them, but there’s so many other students that never got to speak and never got to have their voice heard, so I took the initiative to do it myself.”
Lazo was in her AP government class on the opposite side of the freshman building during the school shooting. Because there was a fire drill earlier that day, Lazo, along with her classmates were baffled why there was another.
“My mom was texting me because she usually waits in line to pick me up,” said Lazo. “She said there was an active shooter and I’m like ‘What? That can’t be!’ Other kids were getting the same information from their parents.”
It wasn’t until her and her classmates were instructed to walk over to the nearby Walmart when she received the call from her father who told her the identity of the shooter: Nicholas Cruz, who was a former classmate of hers when she was a sophomore.
“He put fear into people for fun. There’s been times where I’ve given out papers in that [science] class and he would snatch it from my hand and start laughing. It’s like he didn’t know who I was yet he would do something like that about laugh about it like he thinks it’s funny.”
Lazo was not surprised at the discovery of the shooter.
“It didn’t really come as a surprise, but it was more of a shock that he actually did it.”
Lazo lost friends Joaquin Oliver and Meadow Pollock. While normally identifying herself as a shy kid, Lazo decided to use the tragic event as a wakeup call to let her voice be heard and to stand with her school.
“I have a few friends, but we have different lunches and this year. All I’ve done is sit in the art room eating lunch by myself,” said Lazo. “Now, I really want my voice to be heard for the first time, speaking to as many people as I can, and being out there for my school and for the 17 [victims] is my grieving process.”
Lazo has participated in the CNN Town Hall as well as marches at parks and her school. She will also be in Washington D.C. for the March for Our Lives walkout on March 24.
Lazo said she is prepared to go back to school this Wednesday. “I’m not scared at all. I just want to go. Being scared means [Cruz] is winning. Evil people want to put fear into other people but we can’t let them. We need to go to school to learn.”
I Stand With MSD -Walk for Solidarity will take place March 10th from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at North Community Park 5601 Coral Springs Dr, Coral Springs, FL. Teachers, students and parents are encouraged to wear the school colors to show their support.