Ellie Boan was on the phone with her mother when she heard her dog start barking at helicopters flying over her house, helicopters on their way to the high school five minutes from her house. There was an active shooter at that high school. She opened her laptop to the news and watched as teenagers from her hometown of Parkland, Florida, emerged from their high school covered in blood.
"I watched men with enormous guns swarm the high school I pass every time I leave my house to go anywhere," the first-year international business student said.
Boan went to middle school with the shooter who walked into the high school her older brother graduated from and killed 17 people on Valentine’s Day.
"He took my beautiful, quiet, safe home and turned it into the site of the deadliest high school shooting in American history," Boan said.
The shooting has changed the way Boan sees life and has even prompted her to start doing things she had been wanting to do for a long time, like registering to become a certified Zumba instructor.
“I really appreciate every single day so much more,” Boan said.
On Saturday, survivors of that same shooting and students all around the country will participate in the March For Our Lives in Washington D.C. and in their own communities to protest gun violence. Boan has been coordinating student efforts to organize the March For Our Lives at USC.
“It felt like the only way that I could really process what had happen,” she said. “It was how I was channeling my grief and everything.”
The march will begin at 10 a.m. on the corner of Calhoun and Sumter Street, and head 10 blocks to the Statehouse, where activists and high school students will speak.
“With the March For Our Lives, what we’re seeing is the face of people who would be targeted in school shootings speaking out on behalf of some sort of solution to the gun control/gun violence issue,” said Robert Greene, a doctoral candidate of history at USC.
More than 3,500 people on Facebook are marked as going or interested in the event.
“If these 15-year-olds that live down the street from me can do this, then we can do it too,” said Boan. “There’s really nothing stopping you from making a difference if you want to make one.”