Lithonia teen works to end gun violence - Dallas News |

Lithonia teen works to end gun violence

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A DeKalb County teen says she was tired of attending more funerals than graduations, so she decided to do something about it.

When 15-year-old Mary-Pat Hector leaves the house in the morning, she doesn't go to school. Instead, she goes to the office. The home-schooled high school student is not only at the helm of the National Action Network's Youth Initiative in Atlanta, but has also become one of the country's leading advocates for peace.

Mary-Pat's Think Twice Campaign centers on gun violence. She says that this is not just an issue with one demographic, but affects all people.

Instead of focusing on gun control, she uses graphic images of violence, hoping to inspire people to consider the consequences of picking up a gun.

The Lithonia teen was just awarded the inaugural Peace First Prize for her efforts. The award is given to young people working towards peaceful change.

In addition to receiving $50,000 to further her mission, she was recognized by Rep. Hank Johnson on the floor of the U.S. House and was named one of Ebony Magazine's Power 100.

While Mary-Pat is grateful for all the recognition, she says her work to end gun violence continues. She says her goal is to see her campaign take to billboards across the nation.

For more information on the Think Twice Campaign go to To learn more about the Peace First Prize go to

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