This past Sunday, Stand Up Washington and Washington Ceasefire organized a march through downtown Seattle to bring attention to the need for gun control in the United States. The march started at Westlake Park and moved its way up north, ending at Seattle Center.
While many rallies tend to draw a crowd of people who just want to stir up trouble, the 400 or so marchers were made up of entire families, parents, young children, and grandparents, many holding up signs with statements of “ban assault weapons” and “grandparents for gun control.”
There were people who were opposed to the views of the marchers, but instead of being violent they peacefully walked alongside the marchers, carrying signs that stated their own beliefs.
At Seattle Center, several speakers took the stage to give their beliefs on the issue of gun violence. The speeches were started off by a group called The Raging Grannies who sang songs that by the end had the audience chanting along “no more guns.”
There were a wide range of speakers, from religious leaders to political leaders. First was Washington Ceasefire president Ralph Fascitelli, who gave a speech on what is needed to be done, from banning assault weapons to strict background checks on the people who attempt to purchase any sort of firearm. A trio called the Interfaith Amigos, a local Pastor, Rabbi, and Imam each gave a short speech about seeking peace and strength for our nation. Then State Senator Ed Murray spoke about the similarities between the challenges facing gun control and the fight for same sex marriage a decade ago.
Mayor Michael McGinn then rang a bell 28 times in remembrance of the 28 lives lost in the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, while singer Josephine Howell sang “Amazing Grace.” The final speech was given by Minister Sandy Brown who stated that, “after Columbine we were going to do something. After Virginia Tech we were going to do something… and now, something needs to be done.”
After all the speeches, the Seattle Peace Chorus sang “Freedom is Coming,” a South African freedom song as the crowd dispersed.