Nicholas Dworet’s would have turned 18 today. But the young man’s life was tragically cut short after Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14. Since the devastating shooting, the students of the Florida high school have pushed for gun control legislation. Today, they organized March for Our Lives, a nationwide protest, where Emma González – who has been propelled into the spotlight – delivered a powerful message when she went silent for nearly six minutes, the amount of time it took for the gunman to kill 17 and blend in with the rest of the student body as they escaped. But she’s not the only teenager who made an impression on Saturday. When Sam Fuentes – who was hospitalized after the shooting – took the stage at the DC protest, she asked everyone to join her in singing “Happy Birthday” to Dworet, who died in front of her.
Sam started off by reading a poem she had written. Halfway through it, she became nauseous, but it didn’t stop her from continuing. “I just threw up on international television, and it feels great,” she said before resuming.
“We’re not asking for a ban, we’re asking for compromise,” she said. “Forget your sides and colors, let’s save one another. […] Use efficient regulation that doesn’t make any exception. Close the cracks and loopholes with thorough background checks and psychological evaluation. Protect our schools like we do our other government establishments. Use security protocol methods that are efficient.”
Before she walked off, Fuentes got the hundreds of thousands who attended to sing along with her. Watch the touching moment below.
Fuentes is one of several injured during the shooting. Bullets hit her legs and to this day, she has shrapnel behind her cheek and eye because “[to] remove them would be more invasive than to leave them,” she told CNN. Fuentes doesn’t plan to return to Marjory Stoneman and will instead look to get her diploma online. As she continues to recover, a family friend has started a GoFundMe page to help with her medical bills. Donate here.