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Students from Los Angeles area high schools travel to D.C. for March for Our Lives rally

Students from Los Angeles area high schools travel to D.C. for March for Our Lives rally
Students at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies joined in a national student walkout in support of the Parkland, Fla., victims and survivors on March 14. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Fifteen students from five Los Angeles area high schools boarded buses to Washington, D.C., early Friday to begin their trip to the nation’s capital to participate in the March for Our Lives rally against gun violence.

Thousands of students are expected to take part in such rallies across the country Saturday as part of a movement that found its voice after a 19-year-old wielding a semiautomatic rifle killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last month.

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Edna Chavez of Manual Arts High south of downtown Los Angeles is part of the student delegation headed to the Washington rally, where she's a scheduled speaker. Chavez, said her goal is to call attention to a broader kind of violence that permeates her community daily. Her brother was 14 when he was killed in a shooting outside their home in 2007.

Chavez is appealing for more than gun control — she said she wants improved mental health services, mentorship programs and job opportunities.

"We've had a couple of lockdowns at school this year," she said. "I can tell you straight up I've seen my peers build up that trauma and anxiety .... We learn how to duck before we learn how to read."

More than 1,000 Parkland students are expected to participate, fanning out across the country. The largest event in the L.A. area is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Saturday at 6th and Spring streets downtown.

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