Brentwood H.S. fashion show decries gang violence
Brentwood High School students held an anti-gang fashion show Friday night to call for an end to violence and bullying in the community.
"It makes me so sad that people think that Brentwood is only about gangs, that we are ghetto," said Tania Castaneda, president of the school's fashion club. She created the event to combat bullying.
"I used to get bullied in fifth grade, not only by my classmates -- but also by my teacher," she said.
The anti-bullying message later grew in scope as gang violence tore through the community. On Thursday, authorities announced the arrests of 13 alleged MS-13 gang members in connection with three brutal murders of Brentwood High School students.
Naika Bouquez, one of the designers for Friday's show, said she knew one of the victims, Kayla Cuevas, 16.
"She was always joking around and laughing with us," Bouquez recalled. "She was amazing as a person."
Cuevas' mother attended the show and watched from a front-row seat.
"We are not going to take it anymore," said Evelyn Rodriguez, the teen's mother. "We are going to stick together, fight together and be strong together."
She commended the students for taking a stand against violence.
"With everyone that is involved, we can move forward," she said. "We can have a safe community. We can get our streets back."
The fashion show also served as a fundraiser for the school's senior scholarship fund.