The recent school shooting in Parkland shocked me deeply and tremendously. I was someone who was naive and unaware of the reality of school shootings and these current events were a rude awakening. My heart goes out to all the families of the children who died in the Douglass High School shooting as well as to the families all over America who have lost their children to these devastating crimes. This are my heartfelt words to you, and to those all over America. You are not alone. We are standing by you. And we will make our voices heard.

On February 14, I was over the moon.

It was Valentine’s Day, and I was celebrating till afternoon.

Then I turned on the news, and my joy disappeared,

For in front of me, on the screen, lay my biggest fear.

Seventeen students in Parkland were killed and seventeen harmed

By 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who was fully armed.

He marched into the school, pulled a fire alarm and got them

To race outside to safety, and ironically, he shot them.

His hatred razed the land on the day of love.

He chose his targets and sent them to the realm above.

Without even a second thought, he picked up the gun and fired,

Like countless other shooters, by whom perhaps he was inspired.

My heart shattered into pieces when I thought of the teens

And that by their parents, they would never again be seen.

Seated at the dining table, their dad and mum,

Were waiting for a child who would never come.

Waiting to shower their love on Valentine’s Day

On a child that had cruelly been taken away.

These shootings aren’t uncommon in a country such as mine.

They’ve happened at Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and Columbine.

But I thought shootings like these were only by the likes of the Taliban

Who would shoot young schoolgirls like Malala in Pakistan.

I didn’t think that terrorism in America would be my biggest fear.

That each day, I’d worry about losing those I held dear.

And what frightens me more isn’t that these murderers exist,

For deranged minds have been present and will always persist.

But letting madmen have guns is just not good sense.

Stronger gun laws are needed in all of our defense.

We have protested, pleaded, petitioned and signed

For better gun laws, yet each time, we’ve been denied.

Our government refuses to hear our voice,

And so a month later, I made a choice.

On March 14th, I walked outside

Alongside those who would not abide

To the careless gun laws, to the lack of change

By our government, which was truly strange.

I stood in the cold with a group of schoolmates,

Like others in high school all over the States.

We gave speeches, held up posters and stood in silence

For our rights, for change, for combating violence.

I looked at my friends and prayed in my heart

That we’d have time together before we were forced apart.

After all, with acts of terror like these, how long would it be

Before my loved ones were taken heartlessly from me?

I hoped that my love is enough to keep them from being shot

Because the gun laws in this country certainly will not.