In this week’s installment of the Spotlight Series, we bring you a conversation with Marcus Alston, a member of NYC Says Enough, a coalition of students working together to protest gun violence and to urge legislators to pass common sense gun laws. Check out a few highlights from our conversation with Marcus below!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Marcus Alston. I am a 16 year old Junior at Pace University High School. I’m from Brooklyn, and I volunteer at the work force development of the lower east side to help people who didn’t complete high school prepare for the GED. I love to volunteer in my community because I feel like nothing is more important than giving back, where you live. I am also a member of NYC Says Enough, a group of students working together to protest gun violence and to urge legislators to pass common sense gun laws.
What is your earliest memory of activism?
My earliest memory of activism was volunteering at Metro World Child. While there, I observed how the lives of inner-city kids function. I saw a huge injustice with the education in NYC and how students are molded into being criminals as young as age 5 and that terrified me. I started off as a volunteer and got promoted to the top position of managing volunteers.
How old were you when you first realized you could make a difference in your community?
I was in elementary school. I was always told that I was outspoken but I never knew how to use my voice until middle school where I would often advocate for myself and others around me.
Tell us about the social problem you are working to solve.
A social problem that I want to help solve is the school to prison pipeline. I want to prevent school suspension policies from oppressing minority students.
Do you think it’s important for young people to be involved in civic engagement programs like SLP?
Absolutely… Nothing is more important than students using their voices to advocate for themselves or their peers. We’re fighting together!