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Roundtable with Parkland survivors

Posted: 11:48 PM, Feb 16, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-17 15:19:58Z

Students who survived the massacre in Parkland are using their voices to try and spur change. It’s young voices, like we haven’t heard before who are all speaking up.

I sat down around a table to talk to seven seniors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Jack Haimowitz, Ronnie Froetschel, Vincent Frettoloso, Matthew Horowitz, Cole Sumner, Cain DeLima and Joey Mondelli.

I asked, “In a year from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now, how do you want people to look back at Wednesday, February 14, 2018?”

“The day that changed everything,” Mondelli said. 

“I don’t want them to look at it as a statistic,” Somner said. 

“I want people to see this as the last one. I want people to look back at that day because that was the end,” Haimowitz said. 

These are seven faces of survival, family, and ultimately, they hope,change. 

“If there’s anyone that can change the outcome of situations, it’s going to be Parkland and we will change it,” Frettoloso said. 

Seven Douglas high seniors, at their friend, Cain DeLima’s house. 

“It’s tough when you’re by yourself so when you’re all together, it kind of get your mind off it,” DeLima said. 

Tonight, they’re freshly blonde. For their friend and victim, Joaquin Oliver. 

“His favorite artist was Frank Ocean, when he dropped his album “Blonde,” it was about the time Joaquin dyed his hair this color,” Haimowitz said. “He was everyone’s friend.”

“Volleyball, hockey, baseball,” they all chime in. “Lacrosse.”

“Soccer, basketball.”

“That kid didn’t know a single thing about lacrosse and he was out there screaming like he’s been playing it for the last 18 years,” Haimowitz said. 

On Wednesday, they grew up fast. 

“It’s a race for maturity. No one really told us there was going to be a starting line or a starting gun, they just expected us to go,” Haimowitz said. 

First, they will grieve. They have 17 funerals to attend. 

When the time’s right, perpetuate change. 

“An assault rifle, that’s a weapon made with intent to murder and harm people. So once we feel ready, we’re going to make our voice heard that our platform is built upon making sure weapons like these can’t get in the hands of people again,” Haimowitz said. 

Joaquin Oliver’s funeral is Saturday. His friends want Frank Ocean to know about Joaquin and his fandom. I have reached out to Frank Ocean’s representation, but I’m still waiting for a response.