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Valley student takes action amid mass shootings

gun violence school AP
Posted at 6:27 PM, Jan 24, 2023

PHOENIX — California was left reeling after two mass shootings happened less than 48 hours apart.

Eleven people were shot to death Saturday night inside a Monterey Park dance hall, near Los Angeles.

Seven others were killed Monday in an attack on farm workers, in the seaside town of Half Moon Bay near San Francisco.

Eighteen people were killed in total at the hands of gun violence.

These are tragedies students in the Valley want to prevent. Among those students is Chandler High School senior Riana Alexander.

“I’ve definitely grown up in an era of gun violence,” she told ABC15.

Alexander says she can’t remember a time when school shootings weren’t talked about.

“It’s just an unfortunate reality for us,” she said. Adding she’s become numb to words like “mass shooting.”

“It happens so often that it’s not groundbreaking when you hear it anymore.”

Though, these tragedies haven’t numbed her desire to want to help prevent another shooting from happening.

“I founded the nonprofit Arizona Students For Mental Health. We are working to improve mental health care for students around Arizona,” Alexander told ABC15.

Alexander says acknowledging and bringing awareness to mental health is a step in the right direction.

“Students' well-being should be prioritized, and it often doesn’t seem like it is. How much is it going to take for people to start acting on this?” she said.

These are actions she is proactively taking now, with her non-profit, in an effort to help save lives.

“We’re going to continue to push out resources and make sure students know that if they’re struggling, that there are ways they can get help,” she said.

Mental health is a big piece of the picture, but not the only piece.

Alexander also hopes lawmakers will enact tighter gun control laws, which is certainly a topic of much debate.

“This isn’t the way we have to live. It’s the way we are living, but it doesn’t have to be and so many people are being affected. Things have to change,” Alexander told ABC15.