The Omaha Youth Peace Movement, which is comprised of students from high schools throughout the metro, hosted a rally Friday morning at Benson High School to speak out against the violence.
"I'm getting so tired of going to funerals for people,” said Benson student Breenisha Eberhardt.
Young people are often criticized for lacking experience when it comes to tackling difficult issues, but at Benson High School they made up for that with energy and sheer numbers. To give you an idea how many students showed up, organizers had 350 Youth Peace Movement T-shirts made and they ran out.
Friends and classmates gathered outside the school’s front doors to remember 16-year-old Eriana Carr, a Benson student gunned down outside her home Monday night.
No one understands the senselessness. Still, it gave them strength to carry a message from high school to high school about not being silent anymore when it comes to violence. “North Omaha isn't a place on the map, it is part of Omaha, it is your city, it is my city, it is in everyone of us,” said Benson student Cherish Harbour.
A week ago, Omaha South High School lost one of its students, Montrell Wiseman. Police say he was shot at random by a gang. It sparked student leaders at South High to quickly organize and speak out, a way to channel their feelings into action. Those same teenagers came to Benson on Friday.
“I want to say that I'm sorry for your loss,” said Omaha South student Malik Crawford. “This really needs to stop."
“It's good that everyone is here, but don't be scared,” said South student Tiyonna Crawford. “This is what we need to do."
During the rally, participating students had the opportunity to sign “Pledge for Peace” cards and release balloons in memory of those who've lost their lives. While Benson's school color green was Carr's favorite color, she also loved pink, represented in the balloons sent skyward. The leaders told the others, every student can be a face of change.