FIRST AIRED: April 17, 2019

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00:00:00
I was very candid in a choir office was not in the library which is where a lot of the murders took place , heather Martin is now a teacher , twenty years ago she was a student at Colorado's Columbine high school when two teenagers opened fire killing twelve students and a teacher before turning their weapons on themselves for a long time I didn't , really give myself permission to be traumatized because someone had it worse than me , it has taken me years and years but just to really understand of that comparing traumas is really dangerous thirteen years later another tragedy rocked her community when a gunman opened fire inside of an Aurora movie theater that's when Martin and another Columbine survivor it decided something had to be done hence the rebels project was born it's named after the Columbine rebels the rebels project run by Martin and other mass shooting survivors seeks to support people living with trauma from mass tragedy events being able to talk about that without feeling judged by others and by society is a huge relief survivors from across the US are flown out to Colorado for a weekend gathering each year where they take part in activities like yoga and tai chi but mainly they talk there's also an online support group for roughly a thousand survivors from sixty different mass traumas I think I will always be close to my Columbine brothers and sisters but I've also really connected with Chelsea who is in Aurora theater survivor and on our leadership team and sherry who is also on our leadership team and she is a survivor of the Washington Navy Yard shooting , do you feel you're still Thomas how absolutely area forty five year old sherry Lawson can't escape these question but I'm still in there every week and even while looking for down time and one of her favorite bars what do you guys up to this weekend Lawson fled her office as a gunman opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard in two thousand thirteen , a symbol of that date now etched on her body especially if you're struggling with PTSD %HESITATION your body reacts rather your consciously thinking about it or not my body just physically reacts to hearing about a shooting or even hearing gunfire which is why project volunteers often visit affected communities months after the cameras have gone recently meeting with survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas in parkland Florida we're shooting last year eclipse Columbine as the deadliest high school shooting in US history and with the recent apparent suicides by two young Stoneman Douglas survivors I mean it's not the message brought by the rebels project volunteers in early April couldn't be more urgent , and I did make an attempt to take my own life , I was lucky enough to survive it twenty year old Kaelin Bailey was in the Aurora theater on the night of the shooting so my advice would definitely be to to reach out if you if you , even if you don't want to even if it's the last thing you want to do find at least one person that that you can confide in whether it's a stranger complete and total stranger or whether it's your best friend survivors may wish groups like this one didn't need to exist I don't wish this on anyone but twenty years after the Columbine massacre and with no end in sight for America's gun violence epidemic these support groups may only continue to grow