BOSTON (CBS) – When the voices of Parkland showed the world how powerful a child’s message can be, especially when it comes from a survivor, the world noticed. “If they can raise their voices out of the ashes of that pain, of that tragedy, then so can we,” said Monalisa Smith, who heads up Boston’s chapter of Mothers for Justice and Equality, an anti-violence activist group.
Members of the group say they noticed something new in the last year: More young people joining their cause. Ilerdieu Quarles, a student at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, says he believes kids his age can make a big difference. “When you hear it coming from a child, it’s kind of different from coming from an adult,” said Quarles.
Aretha Mauge, whose son was killed in Boston 11 years ago, says she notices it too. “They’re paying attention now, and I see now some of them have ideas and want to help with changes,” she said.
“I lost my friend because of gun violence,” said 16-year-old Vanessa Rodriguez. “I feel like I can make a difference bringing justice to that person that I lost.” Her friend Luis Gonzalez agrees. “I mean if I keep advocating for this, I think I could make a difference,” he said.
Last year, Mothers for Justice and Equality brought about 100 students from Boston to Washington DC to march with the Parkland survivors. If there’s another march, Smith plans to do it again, “so they can really see what it feels like to be part of the solution.”