WATCH: Meredith Elizalde Talks About the Importance of Investing in Violence Prevention After Governor Shapiro Visits Roxborough High School Mural in Honor of Her Son Nick 

May 15, 2024

Meredith Elizalde was a guest at Governor Shapiro’s budget address in February and has been a powerful advocate for gun violence prevention.

Governor Shapiro’s proposed 2024-25 budget invests $100 million to reduce gun violence and build safer communities.

Harrisburg, PA — Earlier this month, Governor Josh Shapiro joined Meredith Elizalde to visit a mural in honor of Nick Elizalde at Roxborough High School. Nick was a ninth grader at Roxborough, a volunteer on the Governor’s campaign, and already a leader in making his community a better place when his life was cut short by gun violence. Nick’s mother Meredith has been a powerful advocate for gun safety legislation, and she was a guest at the Governor’s budget address in February.

Meredith Elizalde is one of the thousands of Pennsylvanians who has lost a loved one to gun violence. It doesn’t have to be this way – in too many communities across the Commonwealth, we’re seeing unacceptable levels of violence.

That’s why Governor Shapiro’s budget invests $100 million to reduce gun violence and prevent violence in the first place. Governor Shapiro has also called on the General Assembly to strengthen Pennsylvania’s laws and pass significant gun reform legislation. The Pennsylvania House has already passed a package of bills to do just that in a bipartisan manner, including universal background checks and legislation that bans ghost guns. Governor Shapiro supports these bipartisan bills that empower families and Pennsylvania law enforcement – and he is committed to building a broad coalition to support commonsense gun safety reform to protect communities all across the Commonwealth.

Watch Meredith Elizalde and Governor Shapiro visit Nick’s mural and talk about the importance of building safer communities here and read the full transcript below.

Reporter: Nicholas Elizalde was just 14 years old when he was killed while leaving a football scrimmage at Roxboro High School…

Meredith Elizalde: I taught Nick to always raise his voice. And he did. And he marched for many causes, gun violence among them. The mural was done in an effort to bring some beauty and reclaim the space where Nick was killed. It is representative of all the things that he is as a person. So the focus is on his life and not his death. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So I spent a lot of years teaching public school here in Philadelphia. And I said this long before Nick died, that our students deserve better and we’re capable of better. And so we don’t want to continue always being reactive. We need to prevent shooters, from becoming shooters. And we have the means to do that. That’s what I respect about this part of the budget. It gives alternatives and it makes kids who could potentially become shooters or victims see value in their own lives. 

Governor Josh Shapiro: I had the opportunity before I came here, to go with Meredith, to the site where her son’s life was cut short. Where now there is a beautiful mural and memorial not just to his life, but to the things that he lived for, to the calls for peace, to the recognition of the beauty of the diversity of all of us.

Meredith Elizalde: Those kids who shot him who didn’t even know him, didn’t have any connection to the school, showed up and shot up a football game. For no reason. If they had had a soccer club, if they had had a mom like this, if they had had any number of things that we are entirely capable of providing, that the Governor is supporting, then Nick would be alive.

Governor Josh Shapiro: This is a moment in our community where we have to think about budgets not just as dollars and cents, is our statement of priorities and principles. What better to invest in than our children, what better to invest in than our communities. We have to make sure our young people have hope in their lives. Nick’s memory will forever be a blessing.

Meredith Elizalde: I’m no stranger to using my voice. But now that I know the pain of losing my only child in front of my face at school. I can’t imagine not trying to save other people from feeling that.

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