NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — When West Essex High School participated in the National Walkout on Wednesday morning as an opportunity to remember the 17 victims killed in the Parkland shooting last month and advocate for their own safety from gun violence, congressional candidate Tamara Harris stood with the students in support of the national movement.

Harris is running in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District, which includes the four communities that the West Essex Regional School District serves.

“Guns are not just an issue for urban America,” said Harris. “What we saw in Parkland, Fla. could have happened in North Caldwell, Verona, or Montclair, so I am very proud of the students at West Essex High School for taking a stand on this critical issue.”

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As a candidate for Congress, Harris calls on every elected official in Washington to finally draw a line in the sand and say, “No more!” to the unchecked ability to access weapons of mass murder.

"Removing weapons of mass murder from the streets isn’t just a policy goal for me—It's very personal,” said Harris. “I'm a mother who used to live just a few blocks away from West Essex High School and I know what it's like to worry about the safety of my daughters once they leave home for school.

“I don’t own a gun and I truly believe we must remove from our neighborhoods, all lethal firearms that can kill dozens of people per minute.”

As an advocate for sensible gun reform and a social worker, Harris advised the students to continue in their advocacy by being thoughtful and intentional with their protest.

“I leave you with this one question: How strong is your STEM?” Harris asked. “Make sure your STEM, meaning your support system, tenacity, emotional wellness and movement, are in place as you continue on this journey to sensible gun reform. And know that I will always be a part of your support system.”