Maya Aristimuno Photography
"Why is violence still happening?"
"This is our time to stand up", say multiple students who are marching and protesting outside on a frigid March day in Montclair, NJ. In the United States, there is a very clear gun culture that has been happening since forever. The strong kids who are watching their peers being killed are standing up. “Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call BS,” Emma Gonzales, a student survivor of another tragic school shooting stood up and said. So why does violence still happen? As a girl who grew up in America, I know the answer. We all do. Gun violence still happens because of the LACK of control there is on purchasing and owning a gun. But nobody who has the power to do so is taking action to save our lives.
Kids should NOT be able to have guns. We need control and we need safety. A terrifying concept is that my friends and I are on edge while eating lunch in the cafeteria, sitting through an assembly, or even walking through the halls. School shootings are no surprise to us when they happen and like Emma Gonzales said, we call BS. We want to learn, not be afraid to go to class in fear of a classmate pulling out a gun. So the national walkout happened. Students all over the country called BS by walking out of their classes, out of school at 10 am, and stood outside for 17 mins - in honor and remembrance of students whose lives were lost at the recent mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. In one word, students answered the question on how the walkout made them feel. Students described the walkout as, "resistance, solidarity, growth, necessary, and inspiring." Seems all great, students standing up, speaking their voice and questioning authority.
But a week later, another school shooting happened at a high school Maryland. A boy just a year older than me went to school with a gun. This is not okay, and this is not acceptable. It seems like we're hopeless - but we're not. We need change and as young activists, we'll demand it - peacefully and powerfully.
About the Author
Maya Aristimuno is a sophomore in high school living a double life. During the day she’s at school, trying to get through history lectures without falling asleep, and after school, she hops a train to NYC to do photo shoots for big brands and influencers. She started her own creative agency a year ago when she was 15. So far, she’s already created content package and campaigns with influencers from Refinery 29, shot for brands like Alice & Olivia, Cynthia Rowley, and tons of modeling agencies in the city. She's also had work published in online and print magazines like Vogue Italy, Saperlipopette, Affinity, Kaleo and more. Maya’s agency also owns a magazine that the agency’s art department runs called MIM Magazine. When Maya’s in Montclair, she feels different than when she’s in the city. She gets ignored by the upperclassmen, and hardly has any classes with her friends. Not many people at her school even know that she has a creative agency. Stay tuned to read her journals on the week. In both lifestyles! OOTDs will be school outfits and city outfits. Follow Maya on Instagram to see more @maristi!