MOSES LAKE – Angelica Mansfield didn’t expect her message during Wednesday’s Moses Lake High School walkout to go viral. And her decision to speak up was last minute.
“It was really last minute,” she told iFIBER One News. “I’ve always wanted to do something like that. I’ve always had the passion and really wanted to say something. The night before I had heard about it, and I woke up that morning and I was like ‘should I do this, should I really go?’”
The sophomore, who mainly takes classes online, walked from her house to the school just for the walkout, which saw about 200 students gather in the high school courtyard. Many students were on their cellphone, some just talking amongst friends...nothing happening. Then Angelica stood alone on top of the grassy hill in the courtyard and delivered a heartfelt message:
“…All of these kids just want to be themselves, they want to be who they want to be in their own school. They’re here to learn. Kids shouldn’t be shooting up schools. We’re teenagers. You should say that you love your neighbor. You should be there for them, sit with them at lunch. Tell them that you’re their friend, that you’re going to be there for them whenever they need you…And I don’t see why it’s so hard to be nice, and care, and love each other. It’s not hard. And I know some of you are going to laugh and look at me like I’m stupid but I don’t care because somebody said something while we’re out here, somebody stood up.”
The video of her speech now has more than five million views on the iFIBER One News Facebook page. Angelica said she never expected the reaction that her message received on social media, as well as the reaction from other students.
“As soon as I was done a girl came up and she hugged me and started crying, telling me she wanted to say all this stuff but she couldn’t, and so many other kids told me that,” Angelica said. “I was like ‘you have a voice, you can say this.’ Just one person, if one person can be moved and changed by the words that are coming out of my mouth, that’s fine with me. I know that if I can change or help one person, or make them feel like they have a voice, then it’s only going to go from there.”
Students across the country walked out Wednesday morning following February’s mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., many pushing a message of gun control while remembering the victims. While Angelica says she understands the discussion for stricter gun legislation, she said the issue goes deeper.
“I don’t completely agree with gun control. I don’t want to go to a walkout that stands for gun control. I thought I would start (at the high school). I don’t think guns are the big problem here right now. I mean, they’re a problem of course, kids shouldn’t be able to have access to them, but it’s a lot deeper than that. Why is the kid shooting up their friends and other students and teachers at a school? It’s really not caused from a gun. I see where gun control is a big thing, it wasn’t something I felt big about at all.”
Angelica said she’s hoping to continue to spread her message.
“I have a voice and I’m not scared to use it,” she said. “Think about our kids, don’t think about our guns. I know you guys say it’s a gun problem but think to the real source, it has to start somewhere.”