A bus full of 50 South Orange and Maplewood residents and friends rolled out of Maplewood Saturday at 5:30 a.m. to join the March on Washington, DC for Gun Control.
Thanks to Heather Harrington, who organized the bus trip, the group went to the nation’s capital as part of the new One Million Moms for Gun Control movement that has formed and gathered considerable steam since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
With chapters from coast to coast, and simultaneous marches taking place in Jersey City, Boston and many others, these locals chose to join fellow activists from all over, including a large group from Newtown, CT.
The SOMA group consisted largely of women, but there were dads and youth, including 12-year-old Callum Howald whose yellow sign was bright in color and clear in message: “Almost 12-year-old for Gun Control.”
Demonstrators marched in silence from the Capitol to the Washington Monument to show support of the reinstatement of the federal ban on the sale of military-style semi-automatic rifles, such as the one used at Sandy Hook that left 20 children and six adults dead, as well as the gunman and his mother as well as a ban on the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines; and universal background checks.
Many carried simple white signs with the names of gun violence victims printed in black letters, while others carried signs with images of loved ones with powerful messages, and still others’ bore messages that harkened back to the peace movement of the 1960s.
Saturday’s gun control rally in DC was organized by Suzanne Blue Star Boy, theater director Molly Smith and featured speakers that included Shannon Watts, who launched One Million Moms for Gun Control with a post on Facebook, Congresswoman and civil rights activist Eleanor Holmes Norton, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, playwright and poet Dan Beatty, Virginia Tech shooting survivor Colin Goddard, actor Kathleen Turner and more.
Many who rode the bus Saturday have vowed to stay involved and to share the message. Stay tuned. The movement has just begun.