Local organization members and Cincinnati residents gather at the Wear Orange Rally organized by Moms Demand Action on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at Fountain Square. The event was held to protest gun violence and remember those who have been impacted. Many survivors, elected officials, law enforcement, and community leaders took the stand to speak about their stories and missions to protect the youth and prevent further gun violence. Photo by Frank Bowen, Cincinnati Herald Intern

By Serigne Thiam

Cincinnati Herald Intern

Amidst a recent wave of shootings in the City of Cincinnati, Moms Demand Action (MDA) gathered spectators and volunteers to deliver a call to action against gun violence at Fountain Square.

Saturday, June 3 was Cincinnati’s Wear Orange Day, following National Gun Violence Awareness Day on Friday, June 2. Spectators were encouraged to wear orange and grab a seat at Fountain Square as survivors, family members of survivors, the disabled, and organizational members delivered heartfelt accounts about the everyday issue of gun violence that claims 120 lives daily.

“People don’t even talk to each other anymore,” said Jill Bowman, a member of the community gun violence prevention group for Ohio’s MDA chapter. “It takes interpersonal interactions…you have to talk to people you don’t know,” she continued.

Bowman described the struggle against gun violence as vigorous as “trying to turn an aircraft carrier”, but not impossible.

MDA is a movement of Americans fighting for “public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence,”. Since its inception, the non-partisan MDA has established a chapter in all states, including Washington D.C. MDA hopes to spread a valuable message of communication through marches, events and more

Recently, an influx of shootings has taken place in Cincinnati, as reported by several news outlets. In the month of May alone, a total of 38 shootings were reported to the Cincinnati Police Department, with 126 total shootings in the short year to date. MDA couldn’t have found themselves downtown at an even more integral point to deliver their call to action.

In an average year, 1,702 people are killed in gun-related incidents in Ohio, with the Buckeye State coming in ranked No. 33 in the nation for gun law strength.

The topic of protecting students against mass school shootings was discussed in great detail, particularly by Emily Clausen, a rising sophomore and Membership Lead for Oxfords’ Miami University’s Students Demand Action.

“Every year, 19,000 teens are shot and wounded… A generation is raised scared to walk their school halls alone, and fear that a lockdown drill is actually a real lockdown. School should be a place where parents are confident to send their children,” said Clausen.

“Schools should not be a battlefield…Our voices are the strongest tools we have,” Clausen continued. Her sentiment for protecting children would be echoed by Ethel Guttenberg, whose granddaughter, Jamie, fell victim to gun violence back in February 2018, at the age of 14.

“Jamie was an amazing kid, a very accomplished dancer. Small for her age, but nobody dared mess with her. She’d step in when someone was ever bullied…The Second Amendment is one thing, but it doesn’t cover everything,” Gutenberg articulated.

The event lead Alyssa Louagie sounded off the final speaker in Guttenberg with actions all Cincinnatians can take to show their support for public measures to protect people from gun violence. Cincinnatians can join Ohio’s MDA Chapter, promote secure firearm storage and urge legislatures to take a stance for common sense gun reform now.

“We are here to support getting rid of the guns that kill our kids… Too many of us have suffered that consequence,” impassioned by Guttenberg, a sentiment that Cincinnati families have felt too much recently.

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