“By learning what can be done to reduce violence in these affected communities, more efforts can be made to improve the support that children have at home and at school…”.
Shannon Hodges joined the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting as a student intern and podcast producer. At her high school, Shannon serves as the Vice President of Interact Club, a group dedicated to local community service. Through this extracurricular, she has participated in a variety of community-oriented service events. Additionally, she is a member of her Varsity Cheerleading Team and serves on her school’s yearbook staff. All of these activities have given Shannon the opportunity to engage with her community and peers, something she loves to do.
Originally from Florida, Shannon is passionate about housing and education equity, and is familiar in her own personal life with the predictive power that one’s home and environment can have over other facets of one’s life.
“Living in Orange Park with family in Jacksonville, I grew up being acutely aware of how one’s environment can affect their educational opportunities”
Especially powerful to her is the cyclical nature of poverty that affects so many in the United States, namely that in low-income communities, “… schools remain underfunded and resources are limited”. Shannon sees this cycle as disproportionately affecting communities of color. She aspires to one day create an education system that serves all students equitably, with awareness of all of the challenges that students may face at home.
Shannon believes that gun violence is a threat to an equitable and fair educational system, and disproportionately affects the lives and education of students of color. “By promoting equity in education, children in low income communities will be able to have the same opportunities as other students, while also breaking the cycle of poverty and violence that has damaged so many families for generations”.
By working at the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting, Shannon hopes to learn more about how living in a community with high occurrences of gun violence affects community members and children. She believes that every child has the ability to be successful, but the right tools and a supportive environment are necessary.