ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – West Mesa students held a rally on the campus, calling for changes as gun violence continues to plague the community. The movement comes after a deadly shooting last year that happened just outside the school campus. It claimed the life of one student.
On Saturday, dozens of community members attended the event while students rallied by speaking out and reading poems they had written.
One student read her poem, “I’m tired of not being cared for. I want to be important. I’m tired of not having a voice. I want to be heard. I’m tired of simply being watched. I want to be seen.”
Students behind the rally said that they hope it will unite the Mustang community and start a motion of change in their hallways.
“We shouldn’t be afraid to go in to school and stuff like that, and to really show our community that it’s not safe to, for people to have guns with them. And it’s not safe to be scared to go to school because of other people for other people’s consequences,” said Diego Alcla, a junior at West Mesa High School.
Al Burson, the father of Andrew Burson who was shot and killed by another West Mesa student in February 2022, spoke on Saturday. He said no family wins in this situation, victim or assailant.
“I just want to get this point across the pain is immeasurable. You can never recover from this, so tell people to think before they do anything.”
Students also organized a march around campus with community members chanting for change. They also walked passed the site where Burson was killed and held a moment of silence for him.
In other speeches that were given, Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman said the District Attorney’s Office is fighting for strong penalties in the court for offenders. Bregman also asked community members to band together and educate everyone, including kids, on the dangers of guns in school.
“That is critically important, so it’s not just the punishment part about it. It’s also making sure we [are] educated. My office is committed to doing that as well,” said Bregman.
West Mesa students said they hope their march will inspire other students across the state to do the same.