LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A young gun control activist from South Los Angeles stood out as she spoke at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington D.C. about the gun violence she's endured throughout her childhood.
Edna Chavez delivered the emotional and empowering speech in front of thousands of students leading the march for gun reform on Saturday.
"For decades, my community of South Los Angeles has become accustomed to this violence. It is normal to see flowers honoring the lives of black and brown youth that have lost their lives to a bullet. We need to tackle the root causes of the issues we face and come to understanding of how to resolve them," Chavez said loudly, as cheers from the crowd followed.
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Chavez's passionate call for change comes after her brother, Ricardo, was shot to death. Calling herself a survivor, Chavez detailed the rough life she's had to live in an area she says is no stranger to gun violence.
"I learned how to duck from bullets before I learned how to read," the 17-year-old said.
The large crowd of supporters in Washington D.C. cheered for Chavez as she called out to politicians, saying arming teachers will not work.
"Zero-tolerance policies do not work. They make us feel like criminals. We should feel empowered and supported in our schools. Instead of funding these policies, fund mentorship programs, mental health resources," she said.
The local teen was one of several young speakers in Washington D.C., including many from Parkland, Florida, where a school shooting left 17 people dead.
"This is more than just a march. This is more than just one day ... this is a movement," Parkland survivor Delaney Tarr, 17,told the crowd. "Today and every day we will continue to fight for those things that are right ... we will continue to fight for our dead friends."
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South LA student delivers emotional March for Our Lives speech in DC