There are moments in life that wholly change your perspective and motivate you to take action.

February 14, 2018. Fourteen students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are gunned down in their school and another fourteen are wounded.

This tragic day, among too many others that preceded it, would become the catalyst for high school students across the nation to take action and say #neveragain; including MRAYD members, Ta’Quan Grant and Ariana Shahidi.

Ta’Quan and Ariana knew that there was no other option than to act, and despite the hectic life that high school students lead, they both helped to organize Richmond’s March for Our Lives: a walkout and protest hundreds of students strong.

Ta’Quan was born in Henrico County but is a product of Section 8 and public housing in Richmond. Ta’Quan prides himself as a community activist and public education advocate. He serves as the Vice Chair of the Virginia Young Democrats Teen Caucus and as the Richmond Police Department’s Young Adult Police Commission. Ta’Quan has also interned for Senator Jennifer McClellan.

When he isn’t politicking, Ta’Quan can be found at All Saints Apostolic Church, where he serves as Associate Minister. He hopes to one day enter the seminary and eventually become a pastor.

At only 12 years old, Ariana became politically involved when she joined her mother in supporting the re-election campaign of President Obama. Since then she has helped to elect Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Terry McAuliffe, and most recently, Ralph Northam. Ariana served as an intern on the successful gubernatorial campaign to elect Ralph Northam.

Being an active participant in her community comes naturally to Ariana, a Senior at Richmond Community High School. There she currently serves as yearbook editor, Key Club President, and National Honor Society Vice-President. She was recently elected Vice Chair of Virginia Young Democrats’ Education Caucus. Outside of her activism, Ariana also volunteers with the Children’s Museum of Richmond and St. Mary’s Hospital.

Ariana will be attending the University of Virginia beginning this Fall.

These Young Democrats are not just the leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders of today. We are proud to recognize Ariana Shahidi, Ta’Quan Grant, and the many students involved in the March for Our Lives moment, as our April Members of the Month.

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