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Samantha  Fuentes

Samantha Fuentes

Survivor of the Parkland Florida Shooting

Biography

On February 14, 2018 a gunman wielding an AR-15 entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and fired on students, faculty, and staff. Seventeen people lost their lives and many others were wounded. Samantha Fuentes was amongst the injured, and while fortunate to be alive, her body and life changed forever. She has bullet shrapnel permanently embedded in her legs and behind her right eye, and currently manages symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She lost revered friends and faculty members. Despite these tragic events, today, Samantha is resolved and committed to a poignant mission: to make sure that no child or adult is devastated by senseless and preventable gun violence ever again. Read More >

Samantha’s passion for this cause is focused and strong. Every day she spreads her message by sharing her personal story, which starts well before facing down the barrel of an AR-15. Her single mother who battled alcoholism raised Samantha in a trailer park in Davie, FL; her father was absent. She was unpopular with the neighborhood kids, frequently bullied, humiliated, and endured racist attacks. And, there was no respite for Samantha at home, as her stepfather was physically and verbally violent. The frailty of her relationships and lack of a positive male parental figure skewed her idea of healthy relationships. In her early teens, she found herself in emotionally and physically abusive relationships. At fifteen, she attempted suicide after moving from Davie to Coral Springs, FL, shortly after her transfer to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Though her life had become much happier and stable after that point, looking back, Samantha wishes she had the courage to stand up for herself and ask for help with her struggles. This is what drives her today.

Samantha Fuentes is a survivor. Her life experiences have tasked her to champion the importance of human rights and equality — being a victim of gun violence only further bolsters her purpose. Her perspective is straightforward: to uplift the voices of the silenced, and remind us that ALL our experiences matter regardless of color, religion, gender, age, or sexual orientation. Samantha wants to rally bystanders to participate in change when they witness injustice, because anything is possible in numbers. Even if the odds low and risks are high, if Samantha has still has a powerful voice, anyone can find and use theirs! Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

March for Our Lives

PEN America

My Strength Comes From the Strength of Others

Parkland Florida Shooting Survivor

Speech Topics

A Conversation with Samantha Fuentes: Uplifting the Voices of the Silenced