New York Daily News: BRONX, By Michael Elsen-Rooney, Education Reporter –

Classmates of a Bronx 16-year-old gunned down on her way home from school took to the streets Wednesday to demand more aggressive action to curb gun violence.

“Every time I come outside, I have to worry about surviving and coming back home to my parents,” said 16-year-old University Prep junior Fatoumata Barry. “We shouldn’t have to live in that fear.”

Angellyh Yambo, a sophomore at the charter school was struck by a stray bullet allegedly fired by a 17-year-old, on E. 156th St near St Anns Ave in University Heights on April 8.

Hundreds of students donned bright orange “Stand Up For Angellyh” T-shirts and marched through their neighborhood Wednesday calling for change.

The youths said they felt compelled to speak out to honor Angellyh’s memory — and to call attention to the fear many of them grapple with on a daily basis.

“Put the guns down, get rid of guns,” pleaded 18-year-old Fabian Alexander, a senior. “They shouldn’t be in the community, we shouldn’t have them at all. Because every time we have a gun it leads to something bad.”

The rally comes as New York City continues to grapple with gun violence. Firearms have also been turning up with increasing frequency in city schools, with the NYPD reporting 20 gun seizures this school year as of last month, compared with five during the same period in the 2018-2019 school year.

Students walk in a march against gun violence honoring student Angellyh Yambo at the University Prep Charter High School on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 in the Bronx, New York – Barry Williams/for New York Daily News

Hundreds of students donned bright orange “Stand Up For Angellyh” T-shirts and marched through their neighborhood Wednesday calling for change.

Students at University Prep, a Bronx charter school, walked out Wednesday, June 8, 2022 to protest gun violence – Barry Williams/for New York Daily News

The youths said they felt compelled to speak out to honor Angellyh’s memory — and to call attention to the fear many of them grapple with on a daily basis.

“Put the guns down, get rid of guns,” pleaded 18-year-old Fabian Alexander, a senior. “They shouldn’t be in the community, we shouldn’t have them at all. Because every time we have a gun it leads to something bad.”

The rally comes as New York City continues to grapple with gun violence. Firearms have also been turning up with increasing frequency in city schools, with the NYPD reporting 20 gun seizures this school year as of last month, compared with five during the same period in the 2018-2019 school year.

Students gather for an anti-gun violence rally and march at the University Prep Charter High School in the Bronx on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 – Barry Williams/for New York Daily News

Barry, who toted a handwritten sign reading, “as a Black Girl, I hope 1 day I will have as many rights as A Gun,” said she wanted to highlight the disproportionate impact of city gun violence on Black New Yorkers.

“A lot of Black people has been losing their lives to guns, I just wanted to advocate for us so there can be a change,” she said.

Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson said gun violence targeting Bronx kids should attract the same level of attention and outrage as the mass shootings across the country.

“Society … often talks about the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, in Uvalde, Texas,” she said. “But we need people to talk about the shootings we have in the Bronx every single day.”

Angellyh Yambo’s father and mother walk during an anti-gun violence rally and march in the Bronx once Wednesday, June 8, 2022 – Barry Williams/for New York Daily News

The rally didn’t shy away from the charged national political debate over gun control that has reignited in the wake of the massacre of 19 elementary school students in Uvalde, Texas.

Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), placed blame for the flood of firearms squarely in the lap of federal lawmakers.

“The adults in Washington, D.C., have been failing you,” he told the young demonstrators . “The gun lobby … has blood on their hands,” he added. “Ghost gun manufacturers like Polymer 80 has blood on its hands, the blood of innocents.”

Students at an anti-gun violence rally and march in the Bronx on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 – Barry Williams/for New York Daily News

“Ghost guns,” firearm kits often purchased online and assembled at home are difficult for police to track, have accounted for a growing share of the gun violence in New York City — including the shot that killed Angellyh Yambo, according to police.

Mayor Adams, who has previously called for federal support to crack down on ghost gun manufacturers, testified before Congress in Washington on Wednesday urging legislative action.

Classmates of a 16-year-old Bronx girl fatally shot on her way home from school took to the streets Wednesday, June 8, 2022, to demand more aggressive action to curb gun violence – Barry Williams/for New York Daily News

Some adults watching the student-led rally said they were encouraged to see young people mobilizing to end gun violence, and hopeful that the activism could make an impact.

“I think, honestly, it’s amazing they’re uniting to make change happen,” said Omar DeJesus, a Bronx resident who took in the march as the kids made their way down St. Anns Ave.

“In communities that have been ravaged with drugs, violence and poverty, the youth is highly affected,” he said. “If they are dying at a high rate, what would our future look like?”