When two sixth graders approached Kevin Murungi, BFS’ Director of Global Civic Engagement and Social Impact, about their desire to educate our community about gun violence, he wasted little time. He reached out to a former student of his, Frank Teah, who is currently the Program Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, and invited him to speak to our Middle School students.
On Wednesday, BFS’ Middle School students had the opportunity to hear—not just from Frank—but from the two sixth graders who started this entire initiative. Eva and Tess, who are current event journalists for The Panther Post, explained the purpose of the gathering—to educate students on an unfortunate topic that impacts all of us. They explained how guns are now the leading cause of death of children in the United States.
As Kevin mentioned to open the Collection, Tess and Eva reaching out with a desire to lift up an important issue in the Middle School community, and engage their peers in reflection on what they can do to effect social change, is exactly what he is here to support and what drives the work of the Social Justice team.
“As children who sympathize with those who have gone through this, and are scared for ourselves and our peers, we want to discuss with you a bit about how we can learn and make change,” Eva and Tess told the students gathered in the Meeting House.
The pair, who are extremely well-versed and well-spoken on the subject—not to mention very comfortable sharing their knowledge with their peers—went on to recite statistics and facts showing the prevalence of different types of gun violence.
Following their presentation, they introduced Frank, whose overall goal is to equip all of his students with a clear understanding of how power dynamics and systems shape our everyday experiences, and how they can use their knowledge and voices to help advocate for themselves and others.
One of the most powerful lines that Eva and Tess wrote shines a bright light on why this issue is not only important, but absolutely one that must be addressed in every possible way—ensuring that change takes place. “It’s gotten to the level where kids are concerned to just be kids, scared for their safety,” they said.
“Facilitating this process and imparting students with the confidence, agency, and legitimacy in their immense capacity as societal changemakers is something I am proud to do,” Kevin said.