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Dayton students reflect on 2 tragedies, call for peace

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A day of remembrance turns into a day of reflection for some Dayton students recalling not one but two tragedies that have rocked our nation — one hitting right here at home.

More than 50 students with the Dayton Leadership Academy took a trip to the Oregon District where nine people were gunned down, to not only reflect on the mass shooting but also reflect on 9/11.

“We wanted to make a statement to drop the violence and increase the peace, and we felt 9/11 was a good day to do it,” says Marlon Shackelford, Omega CDC Community Advocate and teacher with the leadership group. “It’s basically to ask the young people to be leaders, and leaders start with themselves, then others, then the world.”

“From 9/11 all the way to the mass shooting that happened at the Oregon District, we just all want to spread love,” says 7th grader Robert Carter. “We all know what happened is very tragic.”

A number of community activists spoke to the group of students at the site on Fifth Street marred by gun violence.

“When we look at the different violence and circumstances that are happening, it really highlights the fact that any and every day could be your last,” says Brandon McClain, Montgomery County Recorder.

Students used the opportunity to speak up as well.

“I feel like I have a voice, and I feel like it needs to be heard,” says 7th grader D’ani Brooks. “You know pictures of people holding hands around the world? That literally needs to happen. If I could really make that happen, I would.”

It wasn’t their first lesson in becoming agents of change and moving forward from times of tragedy, and it won’t be their last.

Shackelford says more than 50 professionals are brought in throughout the school year to talk about leadership to students at the Dayton Leadership Academy.

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