The tragedy of gun violence

©Miki Jourdan

As the country reels from the non-stop waves of gun violence, there’s a temporary National Gun Violence Memorial on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Installed by the Giffords’ organization, its mission is both to remember the victims and press Congress to act. The memorial will be on view through today.

Installation of the memorial. ©Rob Klug
©Rob Klug

The new memorial has 45,000 vases with white flowers to represent annual deaths from gun violence. Just over a year ago, Giffords installed the same memorial on the Mall facing the Capital – but since that time, the numbers have increased from 40,000 to 45,000.

©Victoria Pickering

In response to the Uvalde deaths, there have been increasing demands for Senate action, and almost daily rallies, led by Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, who represent Connecticut, have been tireless advocates for gun control since Sandy Hook and have come out to speak at most of the rallies.

May 26th

Senator Chris Murphy. ©Victoria Pickering
©Victoria Pickering

June 6th

©Rob Klug
Senator Richard Blumenthal. ©Rob Klug

June 8th

©Victoria Pickering
©Victoria Pickering

Nancy Pelosi. ©Victoria Pickering

There are two major events tomorrow – the March for Our Lives, and the Pride Parade. The Pride Parade is full of joy, but also with a constant memory of the tragedy of Pulse in Orlando, which happened during Pride weekend in 2016.

A few hours after the Pulse tragedy, 6/12/16. ©Victoria Pickering
Vigil at the White House, ©Miki Jourdan
Photos of the victims from Pulse. ©Victoria Pickering

March for Our Lives, also tomorrow, is a nationwide action led by students. After the shooting at Parkland, the student movement began with calling for school walk-outs to demonstrate their commitment to change.

School walk-out March 14, 2018 in front of the White House ©Victoria Pickering

Within a couple of weeks, the students had organized the 2018 March for Our Lives, one of the biggest rallies seen in D.C., covering many blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue.

©Victoria Pickering
©Victoria Pickering
©Miki Jourdan
©Miki Jourdan

We had so hoped that the Sandy Hook tragedy would lead to real change, but the tragedies continue relentlessly.

Flag at half-staff for Sandy Hook, 2012. ©Victoria Pickering

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