2018 Scholarship Winner – Jasmine Boykin

Jasmine Boykin

Graduate, Laurel High School in Laurel, MD attending University of Maryland, College Park, MD in Autumn

Essay Question

Young people across the nation made their voices heard following a deadly mass shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in March 2018..  The killings became the ? mass shooting on record in the United States, but they are just a tiny fraction of killings committed by guns.  Yet, they still alarm the nation, a garner much media attention.  In recent history, they’ve occurred at a movie theater, a church, an outdoor concert, a nightclub, and schools.  After, the Stoneman Douglass shooting, students got active, holding walkouts, and demonstrating in front of the White House and on Capitol Hill.

Are students on the right track, by being vocal and active about gun violence at schools or they leave it to advocacy groups and legislators to sort?   What can be done to bring attention and change to gun violence in impoverished neighborhoods?  What can be done to stop mass shootings and other gun violence?

Jasmine’s Essay

On February 14th 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School faced a horrific event. An
18-year-old former student of the school took the lives of 17 people in a matter of minutes. The
shooting became “the eighth school shooting in the United States in 2018.” This is a very
troubling and disturbing trend that needs to be addressed. After the tragedy, hundreds of
thousands of students around the nation began protesting. Through school walkouts,
demonstrations, and social media coverage, students became very active and creative in
spreading their message.

After the shooting, there was a massive uproar from the people, mainly students, who
demanded justice regarding gun reform. Marjory Stoneman Douglas students became the poster
children for the debate, holding several televised debates with NRA members and political
officials. They thoroughly exercised their rights as United States citizens and questioned the
government’s inaction. Their bravery and courage shed a bright light on gun reform and proved
that no matter your age, you have a right to stand up for what you believe in.
Students and adults alike grew very vocal about mass shootings and gun violence. Growing
tired of broken promises and idleness from the government, they joined forces and began a
revolution. The March For Our Lives demonstration was one for the books. Although it was not
confirmed, an estimated 200,000 protesters were in attendance making the demonstration “the
largest youth protest since the Vietnam War.” The demonstration showed the power of numbers.
People of all races, ages, religions, and socioeconomic statuses stood together to put pressure on
lawmakers. From calamity came something beautiful and touching. All in all, The March For
Our Lives demonstration promoted a much needed dialogue between lawmakers and their

Many local and state officials have the ability to enact laws to help the welfare of its
citizens, especially those in impoverished communities. Communities that desperately need
stricter gun laws to prevent the norm of gun violence. Passing legislation to tighten gun control
within the state could influence other officials and departments to do the same. It take one
person, one delegate, or one official to take a stand against the harsh realities of gun violence in
America. How many more school shootings will have to take place before any change occurs?
How many more young lives will have to be lost before our government officials, the ones who
swore to protect their constituents and the nation, will actually stand up and take action?
Bickering and arguments aside, we must look to preserve future generations and tomorrow’s

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas was a very traumatic and shocking period that
will forever be instilled in U.S. history. It shook a community and tested its strength. Parkland,
Florida and hundreds of other communities came together to fight for what they believed in, no
matter their differences.They ignited a conversation and exposed the exploitation of weapons and
the consequences they pose to all citizens and, more specifically, our children.

● https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/02/us/school-shootings-2018-list-trnd/index.html
● http://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Organizers-hope-to-draw-half-a-million-to-gun-contr
● https://www.cbsnews.com/news/march-for-our-lives-crowd-size-estimated-200000-peopl


Founded in 1975, the Washington Association of Black Journalists is an organization of Black journalists, journalism professors, public relations professionals and student journalists in the D.C., metro area. WABJ provides members with ongoing professional education opportunities and advocates for greater diversification of the profession.