The 10th Annual National Vigil for All Victims and Survivors of Gun Violence was held at a Hyde Park church on Sunday to remember those who have been killed by firearms in the United States and Chicago at a time when many families would be missing a loved one at their holiday celebrations.
Family members who are working to end the shootings gathered at Augustana Lutheran Church, where photos of victims were on display.
Those who have lost loved ones to gun violence have urged Congress to do more to help those suffering from mental illness, to ban the sale of assault weapons nationwide, and, most importantly, to listen to their experiences.
Family and friends lighted candles in memory of the almost 6,600 people killed by firearms in the United States since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in 2012.
Dodavah Ben-Joshua Duncan, 21, was killed in a drive-by shooting, leaving his mother, Phyllis, a widow. She lamented, “I will never know who took my son’s life or why.”
Indeed, she is aware of her current mission. She established an organization for mothers of slain sons.
At least fifty ladies were present at the first gathering, and she recalled that she had left to use the restroom.
The activists who showed up to the vigil expressed love, forgiveness, and compassion.
Teenager Xavier McElrath-Bey was found guilty of murder in the 2014 beating death of 14-year-old Pedro Martinez, who was thought to be a member of a rival gang.
Martinez’s family attended Augustana Lutheran Church, and they all sat together in the seats, looking at his photo that was on the altar. “Yes, Pedro deserved more, but I also feel bad for poor little Xavier.
Our children are worthy of better, “during the candlelight vigil, McElrath-Bey stated. Xavier was given a message-filled embrace by Martinez’s family.
No child is born terrible, and every child has the potential to change for the better, McElrath-Bey hoped. It was attended by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
She promised to advocate for funding to help the families of gun violence victims at the local, state, and federal levels. The specifics of that are still unknown.
The organizers explained that the vigil was held in December because of the holidays and the vacant chair at the dinner tables of the victims’ loved ones.
Their goal in coming together is to strengthen the movement to outlaw assault weapons in all 50 states.
“We need a paradigm shift in how we approach the issue of gun violence. We need to show far greater reverence for firearms.
We don’t oppose gun ownership because of this. We take a hard stance on drug and weapon possession, “Moms Demand Action’s Maria Pike put it this way.
The Protect Illinois Communities Act, which would ban assault rifles across the state, is set to have its first hearing in the Illinois House Judiciary Committee on Monday.
Source: CBS News