With such young public figures in 2019 like Greta Thunberg, it is not a surprise that student activism is becoming more common in today’s society especially while school is in session.
February 14, 2018, will always mean something to the students of Stoneman Douglas High School. It marks the day that 17 classmates and staff were killed and injured in a school shooting. Following this tragic event was the spark of a movement that would not only change society but change those existing in it.
“The Parkland shooting was probably the moment when we truly realized just how horrible the issue of gun violence in America had become, I think this mostly came to be because of all the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas were doing to shed light on the issues,” said senior Rachel Andriacchi, co-president of the STF DV chapter.
Andriacchi said that the inspiration for furthering her education in social justice issues stems from wanting to learn more about human rights. The goal of learning about issues that are important to Andrachi is so she can take this information back and educate her community, friends, and family on human rights.
“It was one of the first times since I was born that I saw such an impactful and widespread show of activism from just students alone. Hearing what the students had to say and learning about their experience with the shooting was an eyeopener for just how much change needed to be made,” said Andriacchi.
Human Rights Watch Student Task Force began in 1999 and according to the HRW STF website, it is a youth leadership program that works together with high schools in the Los Angeles area. Every year STF leaders roll out two campaigns, one per each semester tackling an issue they want to bring awareness to.
“Human Rights Watch has been an experience like no other. I have met and helped so many amazing people during this journey that has made me a better person,” said Danielle Jauregui, co-president of DV STF and a senior at Da Vinci Design. “There is no way you are the same person after seeing the direct impact you have on others. It makes you appreciate life more, and for me personally, it has helped me live a more fulfilling life.”
Andriacchi and Jauregui are both co-presidents for the Da Vinci STF chapter. The Da Vinci STF chapter was established during the first semester in the 2017-2018 school year. As co-presidents Andriacchi and Jauregui have participated as well as lead events for the students at DV.
“I have helped lead events such as the student walkout against gun violence, a traveling exhibit showing what’s going on at the southern border, an event to petition to uphold DACA, and gathered a group to go with to the Climate Strike in Los Angeles,” said Andriacchi. “DVC gives students a great space to express and discuss the issues they care about. They do their best to make sure all students get their voices heard.”