Justice and peace are core values that we instill in our students at Cristo Rey Newark High School. So when the opportunity to participate in the Washington DC March For Our Lives presented itself, our president, Fr. Robert Sandoz, OFM and principal, Fr. Gregory Gebbia, OFM jumped at the chance. They knew that this universal event would be a milestone in our nation’s history and they wanted our students to be part of it.
Through the generosity of the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Name Province, the religious order to which Fr. Bob and Fr. Greg belong, we were able to take more than 50 students to Washington DC on Saturday, March 24th. In preparation for this trip, these young men and women of promise spent time researching statistics on gun violence and designed posters that communicated their thoughts on this issue.
A highlight of this trip was the chance to meet with U.S. Senator Cory Booker prior to the march. Senator Booker and his staff were gracious hosts providing much appreciated refreshments for our group when we arrived. After addressing the group, Senator Booker led our students to the march.
When asked about their experience, here is what our some of our students shared: sophomore Grace Owosu — “When people think of Newark, they think of a dirty city; they think of hoodlums and that we won’t go far. Meeting Senator Booker was very inspiring because he came from Newark and now he is a U.S. Senator. He had a lot to say and I felt that we could connect, even though he is much older than us.”
Junior Amir Abdullah — “I participated in March For Our Lives because I felt as though I could make a difference. I feel that my generation is going to be the on that makes America great. It is important to publicly demonstrate for important causes because people see the injustices being corrected and we need to stop the senseless killings.”
Junior Ashika Taylor — “The theme of ‘March For Our Lives’ relates to the Catholic church teachings because it stems from social justice which is in basic form, a morality issue. It was important for me to publicly demonstrate that for the change to happen our hearts must change, because real people are dying.”