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In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was worsening in the United States, then 16-year-old Alé Ortiz was inspired to join the Students Demand Action Summer Leadership Academy to learn how to make positive change in their community. “I was inspired to do it because that was a time when COVID was really picking up, and I saw that gun violence wasn’t slowing down in my community,” Alé said. “It was only getting worse, and that didn’t sit right with me.” Alé, from the Highland Park neighborhood in Los Angeles, California, first heard about the Summer Leadership Academy through a peer…

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