Kaitlyn Richards was born and raised in Santa Fe, Texas. “I went to Santa Fe High School since I was in kindergarten, all the way through to senior year, and I’m just a small-town girl,” she told The Daily Signal. But on May 18, her small-town life changed when a school shooting left eight students and two teachers dead.
“I think the worst part is waking up in the morning and forgetting that it happened for a moment and then remembering it,” Kaitlyn said. “It’s just a weight on your chest the rest of the day. It’s almost like every moment that you see people being happy, you just feel guilty, because someone doesn’t get to anymore.”
In the weeks and months following the Santa Fe school shooting, few students from Santa Fe called for gun reform.
“I just don’t believe that putting these restrictions and laws are really going to solve anything or help anyone other than the people who already obtain them illegally,” Kaitlyn said. “I would just hate to see laws be in place that hurt innocent people.”
Instead, Kaitlyn and three friends started a nonprofit called Hearts United for Kindness.
“Our mission is just to spread a movement of love and kindness while raising awareness for mental health because we believe that those things are very much related to each other,” she said.
Learn more about Kaitlyn’s story in the video above.