Organizers of the March on Washington for Gun Control, which took place today, Jan. 26, in Washington, D.C., estimate the number of marchers exceeded 6,000. The event began at 10 a.m. with a somber procession along Constitution Avenue. Many carried signs bearing the names of ones lost to gun violence. The march ended at the Washington Monument with speeches, musical performances and a poetry reading.
Approximately 100 residents of Newtown, Conn. attended the march, which was organized by Molly Smith and Suzanne Blue Star Boy following the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Twenty first-grade students and six educators were killed in the massacre.
Edelman, in her speech, spoke directly to the families of Sandy Hook, “Your children will be a vehicle for the transformation of this country and the de-normalization of violence and guns in the United States of America.”
“Sandy Hook was not a fluke,” Edelman asserted, noting that since the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, 148,000 children have died from gun violence, the equivalent of 7,400 classrooms of 20 students.
Colin Goddard, who was shot six times in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, said he was at the march not because of what happened to him, but because what happened to him continues to happen, and he saw nothing being done to stop it. He urged attendees to contact their representatives in Washington and demand action.
“We need to challenge any politician who thinks it’s easier to ask an elementary school teacher to stand up to a gunman with an AR-15 than it is to ask them to stand up to a gun lobbyist with a checkbook.” — Colin Goddard
Actress Kathleen Turner’s remarks were brief. She told the crowd they must continue their activism by writing their representatives, and demanding responses. She also suggested circulating petitions.
The March on Washington for Gun Control plans to continue efforts to bring about changes to gun laws. The group seeks reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines and universal background checks for gun purchases. Those wishing to keep informed of the group’s activities can text the word “march” to 90975 to receive updates.
As the rally was disbanding, the song “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” played over the public address system.