Ohio high school graduate Gina Warren wanted her big day to be about more than just her. When she graduated Sunday from Teays Valley High School in Ashville, Ohio, the 18-year-old wore her commencement cap with a QR code directing anyone who snapped a photo to a list of school shooting victims, she told BuzzFeed News.
She said she was inspired by the Parkland, Florida, students who painted their caps orange with a price tag last year, representing how much each student was worth to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio based on how much funding he’d received from the National Rife Association.
“I wanted to make something just as powerful as a statement, but rather than direct it to lawmakers or the NRA, I wanted to direct it to everyone who will see it,” Warren told BuzzFeed News.
After the 2018 shooting in Parkland, which left 17 dead, Warren participated in a school walkout to protest gun violence and pay tribute to the victims. According to the Washington Post, she also accented her black prom dress with the color orange, which represents the gun violence prevention movement. She knew she had to do something meaningful for graduation, too.
Snapping a photo of her cap QR code will prompt a pop-up directing users to a webpage titled, “I graduated. These high school students couldn’t.”
The page reveals a list of the dozens of victims of gun violence, which BuzzFeed News reported Warren obtained from Everytown, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting gun violence.
“The names I included on my cap were just the ones killed because of a shooting that happened at a [high] school,” she said. “It doesn't include kids who won't be able to graduate because of a shooting at a movie theater or church.”
Warren tweeted the video of her cap May 9. It’s since gone viral on social media.
Her graduation ceremony was held just days after the attack on Colorado’s STEM school.
According to the New York Times, at least eight school shootings have taken place at high schools and college campuses in 2019 so far, leaving four dead and 17 others wounded.
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.