As I stand there watching, I think back and count how many.
Because a world without mass killing is a world I have never known.
Because the year I was born, 12 were taken too soon.
They call us generation Columbine, because THIS is all we know.
Because at the age of 8, I remember watching and seeing 32 die at the hands of 1.
They taught us the meaning of death, before we had ever experienced life.
Because at the age of 12, a shooting at the movies, was the reason we lost 12.
They taught us that we can never let our guard down, not even to escape.
Because I was newly 13 and I watched as 20 would never even make it to 8.
They taught us that we may be the future, but we may never have a chance,
Because at 15, 9 died, simply for being a community with a skin color that was different.
They taught us that having faith in this system can and will kill us.
Because a year later, it wasn't what we looked like, but who we loved that cost us 49.
They taught us that our love can make us a target.
Because at 18 I watched as they reported on the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
They taught us that in 2 years time history rewrites itself, deadlier each time.
Because two days before I voted for the first time, 26 more, 1 only 18 months.
They taught us that politics and death go hand in hand.
Because 3 months before I was set to walk across the stage, I watched as 14 would never have that chance.
They taught us that enough is enough.
They taught us that we have to stand up, because their lives will be worth something.
They taught us that we must scream, because the silence is killing us.
They taught us that no longer will we accept this as the normal and that we must fight.
They taught us that the pain must never be numb, that we shall not be desensitized.
They taught us that because we have never known a world without this, we are the only ones who can save it.
This poem submission was authored by Shahrazat Nurein, a senior at South High School in Minneapolis.