MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Students at Everglades K-8 Center are using their young voices and creativity to tackle the difficult topic of gun violence.

Tuesday, they brought that message straight to lawmakers in the form of a student magazine.

Middle school students created the publication called “First Shot.” It takes aim at making changes to prevent school shootings.

The project came about after the shockwave of the worst school shooting in history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Speech and Debate teacher at Everglades, Kelsey Major, saw the need to give his students a voice.

“When you saw the raw grief from the children and the students and their inability to process it, if I was going to say something, it was going to sound fraudulent,” Major says.

“I just remember coming to school the next day, and everyone was kind of touched,” says eighth-grade student Ethan Silver. “What just happened at Parkland, like, this is our backyard.”

Taking a cue from the survivors at MSD, these fellow Eagles in Miami created their message in the form of editorials, poems, letters, and artwork. With the support of the education fund, they plan to take this publication straight to lawmakers.

“The goal of these trips is to be able to engage our elected officials civilly and respectfully with facts,” Silver says. “The fact is that in every mass shooting there are senseless victims and senseless injuries, and there could be a law to prevent that.”

“I want them to know that we are out here, and we are trying to change that so no one has to go through that like they did,” adds fellow student, Angelina Cotnam.

Tuesday, they all came together at the Miami-Dade School Board for a forum to present their work.

Major says he wants his students to feel empowered to make change.

The students had a goal of reaching several elected officials when they loaded on the bus Tuesday morning.

The lawmakers on their list were Senator Anitere Flores, Senator Anette Tadeo, Senator Marco Rubio, as well as Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Congresswoman Dona Shalala, and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart.

Karli Barnett

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