’Put the guns down’┃Students from St. Louis high schools march, rally to stop gun violence

Student-led action held in response to murder of Cardinal Ritter graduate
Photo credit (Brian Kelly, KMOX)

St. Louis (KMOX) - Calling it "a movement not a moment," hundreds of students from several local high schools marched and rallied to stop gun violence Wednesday. The event, which started at Kingshighway and Martin Luther King Drive and ended at Cardinal Ritter College Prep, was in response to the recent killing of Ritter graduate Isis Mahr.

Mahr, 19, died in a quadruple shooting in St. Louis' Baden neighborhood in October. Two teens, 17-year-old Jalin Jefferson and 18-year-old Corey Hardy have been charged in the case.

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Ritter students planned the march and rally, and invited students from other parochial and St. Louis Public Schools to take part. It was held on Dec. 1, the anniversary of when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus.

"I was able to march down Martin Luther King in my daughter's honor," says Isis's father Atif Mahr, "to stop violence in our community. To stop killing each other. Say, 'Put the guns down.'"

Photo credit (Brian Kelly, KMOX)

Mahr says the moment, is already turning into a movement, "The moment the children got involved. The moment the youth got involved and said 'enough is enough."

Cardinal Ritter President Tamiko Armstead says the movement is learning from the civil rights movement, in which, she says, everything was planned.

"We're inviting all of the young people to join the planning committee to define the next step and that is going to happen immediately," she says.

Ideas already submitted by students, she says, include making sure those in situations that could lead to violence know to call the Urban League's de-escalation team. They are also planning a social media campaign against gun violence.

Photo credit (Brian Kelly, KMOX)

"Asking to no longer 'like' statuses that involve guns," she says. "Asking people who are posting about guns not to post about guns."

She says they are organizing a way for schools to come together without gun violence.

While other similar efforts have come and gone without making an impact, Armstead believes this one will be different.

"It's being led by students from across St. Louis," she says. "This isn't just something that we're doing for today and we don't have an idea for what we're going to be doing next."

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