"Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man."
My name is Leah Kirssin. This is my fourth year as a Blue Ridge Virtual Governor's School student. I am a senior at William Monroe High School in Greene County, Virginia. I have a strong passion for gun violence prevention. Over the summer I attended a mission trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During one of the days, I was educated on gun violence in the area and I helped take down a memorial for gun violence victims. Afterwards, I had the opportunity to hand out fliers for a rally that helped prevent a gun store, known for selling illegal guns, from reopening. I have chosen gun violence prevention and safety as my topic because I find it interesting, relevant, and it may be something I pursue in college or in a future career.
My research question is, "What is the most effective way for citizens to influence gun laws?" My goal is to answer this question through my community service, internship, and research. I look forward to studying how individuals and groups of citizens can influence the law and create change.
For the internship portion of my senior project, I will be interning under Allison Liles. Allison is the executive director of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship. The Episcopal Peace Fellowship is known for its dedication and focus on ending gun violence and promoting safety. With Allison, I will be attending events, meetings, rallying, and lobbying around Virginia for gun violence prevention. This will help me build a stronger understanding of the topic and give me an opportunity to learn how to teach others about the importance of gun violence prevention.
I will be completing the community service portion of this project with Allison as well. I am planning on helping Allison and others prepare, set up, and run events. I will also have the opportunity to hand out free gun locks and inform the public of the importance of gun safety. In addition to my community service, I will be leaving my legacy by sending a letter to Senator Warner about gun violence prevention and what I have learned in an attempt to inform and encourage future safety precautions. Enclosed with the letter I will send a petition with the signatures of registered voters to show my support and the support behind gun violence prevention in my area.
*The background image is a picture from the Virginia Tech candlelight vigil held in remembrance of those killed by gun violence in Florida.