San Gabriel Mission High School, DC March
“Hey hey! Ho ho! Joseph Kony’s got to go!” was one of many chants that spread through the crowd of 5,000 + marchers that made up Move: DC as they wound their way through the streets of Washington, DC, passing the White House and gathering at the Washington Monument. Two faculty members and nine students from San Gabriel Mission High School (SGMHS) were in attendance at the social action.
Move: DC was a conference sponsored by Invisible Children, a San Diego-based organization working to stop the Lord’s Resistance Army and Joseph Kony’s attack on Sudan, the DR of Congo, the Central African Republic and other threatened nations. The people who gathered at the conference spent a day lobbying for U.S. political support in this endeavor and listened to panels of global leaders and their role in the campaign against Kony.
SGMHS students were inspired by an October screening given by Invisible Children, and these students pulled together in a last-minute attempt to raise funds for their trip. With enthusiasm and determination, the nine students who participated gathered the funds and support and were soon on an airplane to Washington DC. These determined young women were Justine Echenique, Angela Beltran, Marlene Guerrola, Jesenia Melgar, Maya Sanchez, Emily Gutierrez, Dominique Duarte, Adriana Gonzalez, and Lacey Corcoran.
As an all-girls’ College Preparatory High School, one of the goals at SGMHS is to empower students with knowledge and opportunities; knowledge about what is happening in the world and opportunities to do something about it. SGMHS’ trip to DC was one avenue through which the students found something about which they were passionate and used their youth and talents to actively work for change. Justine Echenique, a junior at SGMHS concluded that “…the people that I encountered made me realize that if you’re passionate about something, then take a stand and do something about it. Don’t ever think that your voice cannot be heard or that you cannot advocate for someone who is in need. As youth today, we play a very important role in standing for what is right.”