WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSLA) — A local teen who lost a brother to gun violence spoke at Saturday’s March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C.
It was this shared heartbreak with the Parkland students that thrust 17-year-old Edna Chavez onto the national stage. A different face she says to the same problem of gun violence.
“I am a survivor. I have lived in South LA my entire life and have lost people I love to gun violence,” said Chavez at the rally. “This is normal, normal to the point that I learned to duck from bullets before I learned how to read.”
She is reluctant to share the details of her brother Ricardo’s death but the LA Times says he was just 14 when he was gunned down in front of the family’s South LA home.
“You hear pops thinking they are fireworks. They weren’t pops,” said Chavez. “Then you see melanin on your brother’s skin turn grey. Ricardo was his name!”
The Manual Arts High School senior is vowing to turn her anguish into activism, working with the Community Coalition, the organization that picked her to go to D.C.
“I lost more than my brother that day. I lost my hero. I also lost my mother and my sister and myself to that trauma and that anxiety,” said Chavez.
The sign of the cross she made before she spoke betrayed the butterflies Chavez admits she was feeling. But in a Facetime interview from D.C. Saturday evening, she was energized by the experience.
“It was really inspiring, it was a really beautiful moment,” she told CBSLA’s Cristy Fajardo. “Just the support. I don’t know them and they don’t know me.”
And they didn’t know her brother but chanted his name anyway.
“It was something so powerful,” Chavez said. “To continue to honor him and gave me strength to fight for him and fight for what is right.”