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School Shooting Survivor, Activist is Sept. 17 University Forum Speaker

Thu, 09/05/2019 - 14:47pm | By: David Tisdale

Samantha FuentesSamantha Fuentes, a survivor of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that renewed intense national discussions about school safety and gun control in general, is the featured speaker for the first fall 2019 University Forum at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM).

Fuentes will present “Conversations with Samantha Fuentes: Uplifting the Voices of the Silenced” Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus. Admission to this event, presented by the USM Honors College, is free and open to the public.

On Feb. 14, 2018, 17 people lost their lives after a gunman opened fire on the students, faculty, and staff at the school, with many more wounded, including Fuentes. She was left with shrapnel permanently embedded in her legs and behind her eye, and currently manages symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

But Fuentes’s story of strength and courage began before surviving one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. She has endured bullying, racist attacks, physical abuse, and domestic abuse. Transforming tragedy into action, Fuentes has become an advocate for those who have been silenced, working to remind them they have the power to change the world.

“The young men and women of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, including Samantha Fuentes, have sacrificed their time, made public their grief, and given us reason to believe the future will be better than the past by transforming tragedy into a call for action,” said Dr. Andrew Haley, director of University Forum. “I believe we can all find inspiration in that message.”

For information about University Forum, visit