The teen took to social media platform Twitter to share what she'd done with her graduation cap. The tweet went viral, with more than 300,000 likes and 90,000 retweets.
18-year-old Gina Warren from Ohio decided to make the most of her graduation with a touching tribute to all those who could not graduate along with her. Warren decorated her commencement cap with a QR code in the memory of the 49 young people killed in American school shootings in the last two decades. According to Daily Mail, people who scan it with their phones will be directed to a website that has listed victims of gun violence. Her graduation from Teays Valley High School is on Sunday and she hopes to promote gun safety when she wears the hat to pick up her diploma.
The website says: I graduated. these high school students couldn’t. protect our students. protect our kids. protect our neighbors. protect our families. protect our friends. protect our nation. The list includes 10 high schools where deadly mass shootings have taken place in the last 20 years, starting with the most recent one at STEM School at Highlands Ranch in Colorado and ending with Columbine High School back in 1999.
While most people do something fun and cute with their graduation caps, Warren wanted to do something powerful; something that would leave a message. "I was inspired by the orange price tag caps that many students did last year after the Parkland shooting," Warren told CNN. This was in reference to what Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's class of 2018 did after 17 people were killed there because of an active gunman.
"Their caps were a message to the NRA and lawmakers. I wanted to do something just as powerful but send a message to everyone who saw it." The students wore orange caps with price tags of $1.05 attached to their tassels. They also started a Never Again gun control movement, and according to Never Again, each tag was meant to represent how much each student in Florida was worth to Sen. Marco Rubio, completely based on how much money he received from the National Rifle Association.
congratulations on graduating! also, this cap is so beautiful and important. brought tears to my eyes. thank you for representing the victims who didn’t get to make it to their graduation and sharing this. hope this post gets the attention it deserves 💓— jen (@Iottalove) May 10, 2019
As to how Warren built the "ridiculously long" list, she went through Wikipedia and other sources, such as the gun control advocacy organization Everytown for Gun Safety. "This is mostly about honoring these kids," Warren said. "I want more than anything to keep their memory alive. But looking at that list, I'm hoping that everyone is touched and sees that there is a serious, serious problem in our country."
thank you for this. i’m so glad i can raise awareness and keep her memory alive. i will honor her on my graduation. thank you for reaching out. i’m praying and fighting for change.— Gina (@Gi10eight) May 10, 2019
The teen took to social media platform Twitter to share what she'd done with her graduation cap. The tweet went viral, with more than 300,000 likes and 90,000 retweets. People have been showering her with praises, although there are a few people who think she's using the graduation cap to "push an agenda," she said. But Warren said she wanted people to "look at the cap and see that there are far too many names and that this is a problem."
thank you for remembering preston and bailey, my classmates live on bc of people like you 🧡💙— darbs ⚢ (@iridescentdarbs) May 11, 2019
"I encourage people to speak up and vote, I'm not going to tell anyone how to think or who to vote for," she said. "But whether you think we should arm teachers or place restitutions on guns altogether, we need to fight for a safer country." Now, people have been requesting Warren to provide a picture of the QR code so they can put it on their graduation caps. Small changes put together makes a big difference, and this is a start.
This is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen all day. We need more people like you in the world, Gina.— Maggie Bowling (@spontaneousmeb) May 11, 2019