Kids and adults used their feet to voice the desperate need for gun control.
Led by the NY-based group Youth Over Guns, students, adults, community leaders, survivors and stars including Susan Sarandon and Julianne Moore marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday to call for an end to gun violence.
More than 700 participants dressed in orange shirts turned the majestic span into a pumpkin-colored walkway.
It is a color of solidarity, traditionally used to evoke safety, but it took on another dimension as many of the posters hefted some kind of reference to President Trump, who has sometimes been mocked as for his orange complexion.
Marchers carried signs that read “Vote them out” and “Slay the NRA” and “Arms are for hugging.” Other marchers carried a white casket.
In addition to addressing the issue of gun violence in schools, the march, which began at noon at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Brooklyn and ended in Foley Square in Manhattan was designed to shed light on gun violence in communities of color.
Samantha Rodriguez, 14, from Harlem, said, “A lot of people keep getting shot. It’s too much to deal with, going to school and then worrying about getting shot. I’m just there to have a brighter future.”
“I’m tired of people being uselessly mowed down by AR-15s and semi-automatic weapons,” Kathryn Como, 51, from Flushing, Queens, said as she marched.
“I think it’s disgusting how easy it is for people to get a hold of guns. I think there should be better restrictions. I’m not against people owning guns for protection but I am against people owning semiautomatic weapons,” she told the Daily News.
“Every time I drop off my son at school every morning, it terrifies me that he would die in school because of a kid that had a gun,” Como added. “It terrifies me.”
Yvette Montanez, 54, from Mt. Vernon, marched for her daughter Aisha Santiago. At age 25, she she became a victim of gun violence on Sept. 22, 2009, leaving behind her 9-year-old son for her mother to take care of.
“This is for my daughter, my grandson, all the mothers out there,” said Montanez. “To keep raising their kids and not to have another school shooting. It was almost nine years ago, I can’t hear it anymore.”
“I get angrier and angrier. The more angrier I get, that gives me the motivation to come out and fight, because my voice is going to continue being heard until the end.”
Patricia Glenn, 60, from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, recalled her daughter Cierra Glenn, who was killed on Oct. 30, 2010, at age 25. She was coming back from her birthday party and left behind a 7-year-old son who is now 14 and needs therapy.
“We shouldn’t have to hear this all the time. I’m tired of this. I shouldn’t be scared to walk with my grandson outside,” Glenn said. “That’s part of the problem now. Nothing’s being done. We’re out here because they’re doing nothing over there.”
Nathalie Arzu, 25, whose 16-year-old brother Jose Webster was shot and killed, echoed that sentiment. “I feel like just how the youths took over the internet, we can take over this issue. Obviously politicians aren’t acting so we have to. To me, it’s our voice that can create change because gun violence is like a disease that’s been prevalent among minority communities but now it’s hitting the rich neighborhoods like a disease does.
“We’re getting mass shootings at schools in affluent communities,” Arzu added. “Now it’s unsafe to actually walk out your house and think you’ll make it back through that door.”
“It’s been happening for a while but just now it’s been getting coverage because it’s been happening to our white counterparts compared to the fact that blacks are three times more likely to get shot. It just unfortunately had to be a shooting at a school before we decided that there needed to be a change.”
Debbie Hixon, 51, visiting from Florida and walking for her husband Chris, an athletic director killed in the Parkland, Fla., shooting, spoke for many if not all of the 700 marchers as she said gun violence “infuriates me. We’re here because we couldn’t find a march by us so we found one here in New York.”
“It infuriates me,” she added. “It should have stopped at Columbine. We changed laws in Florida but there was yet another incident. That’s not okay. It’s not OK to shoot schools. Any mass shooting, it’s not OK. We’re gun owners, but we always wanted gun control. We support the Second Amendment, my husband owned a gun. But not everybody should. It’s really about gun safety.”
Source: New York Daily News