MSD survivor Carlos 'Carlitos' Rodriguez: Change will come
MSD survivor joins Never Again movement with 'Stories Untold'
PLANTATION, Fla. – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School survivor Carlos "Carlitos" Rodriguez said when he heard the first shot fired on Valentine's Day his life changed forever.
Carlos said he lived in Venezuela where he experienced gun violence and political corruption before moving to Parkland, where they never imagined a gunman with an AR-15 would kill a 17-year-old Venezuelan MSD student and wound a 15-year-old Venezuelan-American.
While they were among the 17 dead and the 17 wounded, Carlos said he was among the thousands of MSD students who are dealing with the trauma of surviving the massacre. His contribution to the Never Again movement is the new "Stories Untold" hashtag.
"There were 3,300 students at that school that day that deserve to be heard, because all of us are facing PTSD, all of us are talking to therapist, all of us are experiencing things that no student should ever feel," Carlos said. "There is pain in our hearts. We have been scarred for the rest of our lives."
Carlos said he feels the pain of the family of Joaquin Oliver, a 17-year-old Venezuelan who had just become a U.S. citizen last year and was killed in the massacre. He said he also feels the pain of Anthony Borges, a 15-year-old Venezuelan-American who was shot five times and is still recovering from the wounds.
Carlos said he was upset that Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer had not allowed Anthony to testify during the trial of Nikolas Cruz, who was formally charged on 17 counts of first-degree murder Wednesday. He fears that if Scherer didn't value Anthony's voice then authorities are not going to value any of the other voices
Carlos is convinced that his new project will help others heal by sharing how gun violence has affected them. He believes he and the other MSD survivors who are motivating students from around the nation to act will make a difference.
"Change will come," he said.
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