A large group of Colorado students walked out of a vigil that was intended to honor the student who was killed in the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch on Tuesday, after the event was quickly politicized.
More than 2,000 people attended the vigil which was organized by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Instead of remembering Kendrick Castillo’s life and the student’s heroic efforts, the event’s speakers took it as an opportunity to push their political agendas — and students weren’t having it.
Frustrated, crying and angry, #STEMschool shooting victims hold an impromptu vigil in the rain Wednesday after leaving a gun-control vigil they felt inappropriately politicized their trauma. (They asked that I not photograph their faces close up, and I respected their wishes.) pic.twitter.com/cksRXGtYQA— Trevor Hughes (@TrevorHughes) May 9, 2019
As USA Today reports:
“Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Jason Crow urged support for gun control legislation, prompting students in the crowd to shout out dissenting comments such as "political stunt" and "we are people, not a statement" – to applause.”
Moms Demand Action’s Laura Reeves took it a step further than these political figures, telling students to “register voters, stage walkouts, raise money, and use social media to promote gun control,” according to The Daily Wire.
The outlet also reported a student who spoke to them said Reeves was the person who offended students the most.
Moms Demand Action's Laura Reeves heavily politicizes the STEM School Highlands Ranch vigil:— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 9, 2019
-Demonizes pro-gun politicians
-Advocates working to elect Democrats
-Tells students to register voters, stage walkouts, raise $$$, & use social media to promote gun control pic.twitter.com/YlY3VaXWp8
The students called for “mental health” and weren’t interested in hearing gun control advocates speak their robotic language. This led them to walk out of the school to hold their own vigil.
Students at a vigil for the STEM School shooting in Highlands Ranch reportedly walked out of the event after Democrat politicians Jason Crow and Michael Bennet made remarks and students said the tragedy was being politicized.— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 9, 2019
Outside, students chanted: "Mental health!" pic.twitter.com/sQpTfAUWCs
Students from the #STEMshooting in Colorado stormed out of a rally organized by gun-control advocates Wednesday night after growing angry about the politicization of their trauma. pic.twitter.com/uCLEqt89VY— Trevor Hughes (@TrevorHughes) May 9, 2019
The Brady Campaign issued a statement concerning their misguided focus at the event:
"We are deeply sorry any part of this vigil did not provide the support, caring and sense of community we sought to foster and facilitate and which we know is so crucial to communities who suffer the trauma of gun violence.”