Cross Keys Students Take Stand Against Big Tobacco

The Center for Pan Asian Community Services GATE Coalition and the Community Action for Teens Program teamed up with members of Cross Keys High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions Club March 15 to host “Kick Butts Day” at Cross Keys High School. “Kick Butts Day” is a day of activism that empowers youth to stand up, speak out and seize control against Big Tobacco. More than 1,000 events were planned across the United States and around the world.


Students built a 3-D display that was placed in the Cross Keys High cafeteria to highlight the num-ber of tobacco related deaths in the United States.


The idea for the 3-D model came up at a prior pledge walk said Delia Mendez, a 10th-grader at Cross Keys High.
“We wanted something that stood out that we could do at the school. I came up with something like a piñata and we all put effort into designing it and how were going to do the pledge wall,” Mendez said.


Cross Keys Junior Jesse Barrita said he was one of the students in charge of making the numbers. “We thought it was important to bring awareness to the teenage population. We need to just make them aware of how many people are affected from smoking cigarettes and how they can stay away from them,” Barrita said. “We made the number 480,000 because that’s how many people died from the last year from smoking ciga-rettes. So we thought that would be a really powerful message-make the numbers huge and that would catch most of the attention.” According to a Kick Butts Day release the tobacco industry’s own documents reveal that they have long targeted children as “replacement smokers” for the more than 480,000 people their products kill each year in the United States and the students also took part in the #NotAReplacement selfie campaign by posting their photos on various social media sites.


“We’re so young and have so much life in us we should focus on bigger things,” said Cross Keys Junior Jeremy Medina who participated in making the display.


- Dean Hesse

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