Two Upper School students at Crossroads were recognized this month for their efforts to organize their peers against gun violence.
Juniors Aislinn Russell and Dexter Mayo were honored Sept. 8 at the 20th annual Communitas Awards at The Church in Ocean Park, a diverse interfaith organization dedicated to social justice.
The award honors their leadership roles in the Los Angeles Student Activist Coalition (LASAC), which coordinated a walkout against gun violence on April 20—the anniversary of the Columbine shooting—and subsequent rally at Santa Monica City Hall, which more than 1,000 people attended.
“It was great to be recognized for our hard work and to see that politicians and government officials are hearing our voices,” Aislinn says. “It was also so inspiring to hear about the work of other activists that we can learn from.”
Rep. Ted Lieu and State Sen. Ben Allen also issued certificates of commendation to LASAC, which includes students from Crossroads as well as other public and independent schools in the area.
Aislinn and Dexter’s efforts exemplify the activism work undertaken by Crossroads students in recent months to combat gun violence in schools, including protests, letter-writing campaigns, voter-registration booths and an evening of poetry and music in support of school safety.
“Young people have a different view on the world than many others do,” Dexter says. “We see a huge advantage in advocating for what we believe in, and I think that’s mostly because it’s our future and our children’s future that will be most affected. If we don’t change it now, who knows who will?”