Amrita Sangani, a 16-year-old from Los Altos, participated in “Since Parkland,” a teen-run journalism project that told the stories of victims of gun violence in the year since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Sangani, who attends Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough, wrote three 100-word obituaries for children who died after being shot. The first story, of a 4-year-old killed by a stray bullet in a domestic violence dispute, hit her the hardest.
“I couldn’t talk about her hobbies or her interests or her favorite classes because she was only four,” Sangani said. “She didn’t get to those things.”
Sangani relied on details from the Gun Violence Archive and various news stories to write the obituaries for the three children she covered.
More than 200 teen journalists took part in the “Since Parkland,” project, which was supported by The Trace, a nonprofit news organization that documents gun violence, and the Miami Herald. Reporters from The Trace trained the young reporters and edited their work, while the Miami Herald provided research and, along with others papers in the McClatchy media group, wrote articles related to gun violence in conjunction with the project’s publication date.
“Us teens covering the deaths of fellow children is pretty moving because it’s our story to tell,” Sangani said.
Feb. 14, 2018, 14 students were killed at Stoneman Douglas, inciting a wave of teen activism around gun control. But in the year following, 1,200 more children died from guns.
Sangani got involved with the project after attending Newsroom by the Bay, a digital journalism summer camp, last summer.
In addition to 4-year-old Janaya Swain, Sangani wrote about the deaths of 7-year-old Keyaris Samuels and 15-year-old Raymond Phillips Jr. Keyaris found a loaded gun in a box with a hoverboard at home and accidentally shot himself. Phillips was gunned down by a 16-year-old outside of a convenience store.
At 16, Sangani is too young to vote. But she’s hopeful that working on the project helped inform voters and lawmakers about the perils of gun violence.
“I could get the stories into the hands of people who could make a change,” she said.
For more information, visit sinceparkland.org.