WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Over 150 people rallied for gun reform at the United States Capitol on Monday, June 6.
The rally was the first of many planned events that Students Demand Action and other groups fighting for gun reform are hosting leading up to the March for Our Lives event planned for Saturday, June 11. The rally was planned around members of Congress returning to work. “Don’t look away,” was chanted by the group multiple times during the event.
Jeannie She, one of the event emcee’s, said, “The action we’re calling for should have happened yesterday. It should have happened last week. It should have happened last year.” She started fighting for gun reform after her father survived a mass shooting in Virginia Beach in May of 2019.
While She’s father survived, she said her family is forced to relive that day time and time again as shooting after shooting happens. Her family is not alone, and even those without a personal connection like hers have been deeply devastated by gun violence.
Avery Hamill, who just graduated high school and is headed to college in the fall, said, “We are an entire country of students scared for our lives, scared that we’re going to be the next mass shooting.” Hamill was the last person to take the podium at the rally.
“Even the day before graduation, it was on my mind,” Hamill explained. “Walking into graduation, where is the exit? Where can I barricade myself and how can I get my family out?” For Hamill, standing up and demanding action alongside hundreds of others gives him hope that the next generation won’t have to ask those questions at their graduation.
The group hopes that lawmakers see and hear them and take action. “We’re not going away. We were not away before this, and we’re not going away after this,” Hamill said. “We’re demanding today, like we do every single day, that our lawmakers finally stand up and make us safe.”
There is a walkout planned for Tuesday, June 7, at noon.