Today my wife and I participated in our first protest walk, in support of efforts to stop gun violence.
Organized by Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the Philadelphia walk was one of more than 100 Orange Walks in 44 states this weekend to commemorate the third year since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, to honor all American lives affected by gun violence, and to show a determination to end gun violence.
There were about 200 people at the Philly walk, which started near Boathouse Row and ended at the steps of the Art Museum. Prior to the walk there were some brief remarks from a few people. The most memorable speaker was Star, who was a victim of gun violence back in 1991. Despite surviving the shooting, she is still suffering from the horror of that day, both physically and mentally.
Since it was such a beautiful day outside (close to 70 degrees – a new record for this date), there were lots of people out running, riding bikes, and of course, lining up for pictures with the Rocky statue. Many of these people, while not part of the walk, would join in our chant of, “We Will” followed by, “End Gun Violence” when we passed them. Several motorists also honked their horns in support. And for some reason I still remember the quiet words of a pretzel vendor as we passed him, saying “Yea, that’s what it’s all about.”
I had thought there would be at least one person yelling something against us, but I did not hear any such protest. The only “protester” I saw (besides us) was someone riding a bike while wearing a Buffalo Bills jersey and shouting “Go Bills!”, who are in town to play the Eagles tomorrow.
My wife and I have often talked about gun violence and gun control, so it felt good to do something active, to be involved, to be among like-minded people, and to hopefully be part of the solution to end the madness.
So thank you to Moms Demand Action for your organizing efforts, to Everytown.org for raising awareness, and to all of you who participated in today’s walks around the country.
I am confident that together, we can, and will, do something to end gun violence.