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    Franklin High Students Lead Their Community in Honoring Classmate
    Posted on 06/12/2018
    Franklin students gather together at the June 8 event.

    Franklin High Students Lead Their Community in Honoring Classmate

    On June 8, Franklin High School students rallied and redirected their efforts from their annual campus day celebration, Quaker Day, toward a call to action event and teach-in. The event was centered around the "seriousness of gun violence, the need for greater safety in the south end and First Amendment rights as they relate to peaceful protest" after classmate Ryan Dela Cruz became a victim of gun violence on June 1, 2018.

    Working in collaboration with Franklin High administration, Seattle Public Schools administration and the City of Seattle, students welcomed community members, sister schools, alumni, city officials and SPS staff to join the youth-led demonstration.

    After student speeches, a moving student musical performance, and an inspiring message by community advocate and organizer Nikkita Oliver, who encouraged student voice and action in creating change, students directed more than 1,200 participants clad in orange T-shirts and ribbons (national color for anti-gun violence) to line up along Rainier Avenue.

    The student movement drew a grand amount of support from motorists driving by, whose honks could be heard for miles in response to signs demonstrators held advocating for greater south end safety. As participants chants echoed through the street, students remained focused and purposeful in their rally.

    The event concluded in silence, as the deceased student’s closest friends lifted a white balloon to the sky in his honor, encircled by hundreds from the student body.

    In honoring Ryan, students embodied what it means to be a Franklin Quaker; academically excellent, understanding and compassionate, while working to ensure an increasingly peaceful and productive society