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Central VPA students, alum gather for peaceful protest

By Shoshana Stahl

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    ST. LOUIS (KMOV) — Sunday marks six days since the deadly shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience.

A peaceful protest was held outside of St. Louis City Hall as the community continues to mourn.

About 30 current and former Central VPA students gathered in front of city hall Sunday afternoon. Organizer and Central VPA senior Veronica Russell says the goal is to bring change to laws in Missouri when it comes to guns.

“We as kids should not be out here begging for our lives,” Russell says. “We really shouldn’t. We as kids shouldn’t have to scream to the top of our lungs ‘change this, change this,’ for it to be changed. It was a problem long before it happened to Central.”

Russell says the word to describe Monday is traumatizing.

“It really took a toll on me,” Russell says. “At that moment, I was preparing myself for death.”

Protestors wore black and laid down on the steps of city hall to represent children who have died due to gun violence.

Central VPA alum Ron Holman says the community needs to come together now more than ever.

“We never thought that it would be us,” Holman says. “We always say ‘oh it’s not gonna happen, it’s not gonna happen.’ Well, now it did so now what are we going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Holman says the school used to be a safe place for students.

“Do I believe it can be our safe place again? Yes,” Holman says. “But it would take a lot of repairing, a lot of healing, a lot of coming together and standing with each other in unity.”

In honor of their friend Alexzandria Bell and their teacher Jean Kuczka, Russell is demanding for change to be made.

“I took that voice and I used it in a way like this to the point where I can gather people together ad be able to make a change,” Russell says. “Just being able to use that opportunity and use that voice because I feel like I got a second chance at life.”

Russell tells News 4 she is planning a march to continue to fight for change.

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