LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA—Singer Whitney Ann Jenkins is still trying to wrap her head around the latest school tragedy that has once again left so many lives forever changed. On Valentine’s Day, Nikolas Jacob Cruz, 19, walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and opened fire on students and faculty. In the end, 17 people lost their lives.
“When I heard about the shooting, my heart sunk, and I thought ‘not again,’” stated Jenkins. “I had a lot of emotions right away—anger being very prominent.”
For Jenkins, the shooting hit too close to home. Her friend and former teacher, Coach Willis May, was working at the south Florida high school when Cruz went on his killing spree. Fortunately, the former West Virginia high school football coach was able to lock himself in an office when the bullets began to fly.
“May was my health teacher at Hurricane High School,” stated Jenkins. “He is extremely passionate about the subjects he teaches and as a coach he’s a great role model. I’m happy that he survived this horrible shooting, but I’m also very sad that so many people, including many students, did not.”
The Parkland shooting tragedy immediately prompted Jenkins to keep the memory of the victims alive through a new song she wrote titled “Enough is Enough.” The song also sends a powerful message to lawmakers that now is the time to reform the nation’s gun laws before more innocent lives are lost.
“The most important thing the politicians need to do is to listen to the students and actually hear what they are saying. Don’t ignore the children,” stressed Jenkins. “A lot of them are going to be able to vote in the next election. And they are not going to forget this. This is their life, they live with this fear daily, and it’s their future that the politicians are making decisions about.”
Jenkins released the track’s music video earlier this week. The chilling video begins with students fleeing a school following a shooting. In the background a candle burns to honor students and teachers who are no longer with us. Jenkins’ chilling lyrics open with the following lines:
“It was the spring of 1999, we heard the news of Columbine. We walked the hallways terrified. The years went by, more victims died,” sings Jenkins.
The singer was just a freshman herself, with Coach May as her teacher, when the tragic events unfolded at Columbine. Following the events at the Colorado high school, Jenkins, then only 15, became very passionate and vocal about gun control.
“After Columbine, I remember being terrified, confused, upset and unsure of what was happening. When I was a senior, I wrote an award-winning essay for the Million Moms March on gun control and was invited to read it on the steps of West Virginia’s capital,” stated Jenkins. “To see that these school shootings are still happening stuns me, especially, since the Columbine shooting happened almost 20 years ago.”
While she realizes her song alone won’t prevent another mass shooting from happening, she hopes it at least keeps the conversation going about the need to address the nation’s mental health crisis and current gun laws before history once again repeats itself.
“This is not about liberal versus conservative or taking people’s rights away,” explained Jenkins. “It’s about valuing a life over a material object that was designed for mass destruction.”
To watch the music video for “Enough is Enough,” click here.