‘I’m angry’: Families stung by gun violence rally for action, reform

Representatives, clergy, students and activists from all over California gathered Friday night to protest gun violence and call for gun reform, including common sense gun laws, outside the California Democratic Convention.

The rally was held a day after the Saugus school shooting, which left three students dead (including the gunman) and three others wounded. On a poster board listing 18 well-known mass shootings and the victim count since Columbine, a white paper had been tacked on the corner, saying “2 killed yesterday, Saugus High School.”

The focus of the event wasn’t focused on larger scale shootings as it was on gun violence in general.

Kawana Anderson shared with the crowd how her 16-year-old son, John, was gunned down while walking down the street weeks ago.

“I am now afraid for my other children,” Anderson said as she wiped tears from her eyes. “And I’m angry that gun violence continues to live and breathe in our communities.”

Kawana Anderson wipes a tear after talking about the murder of her son at the gun reform rally at the steps of the Long Beach Convention Center outside of the California Democratic Convention In Long Beach Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Anderson said that gang violence goes hand-in-hand with gun violence and called for cities to install better lighting and surveillance cameras in neighborhoods directly affected by both. As a member of SEIU, Service Employees International Union, she noted hers and her family’s previous work canvassing for the Democratic party.

“Now I am here asking these same politicians to put an emphasis on combating both the gun violence and the gang violence that is destroying our communities,” Anderson said. “It is too late to help my son, but there is a chance to help future generations.”

Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson, who organized the event, noted the numerous bills in Congress that are waiting to be signed by Republicans. Two other poster boards at the event listed dozens of state and federal gun reform legislation in the works.

“I’m tired of waiting,” he said. “Yesterday rocked California once again. Children should not have to go to school in fear.”

A woman wears a jacket dedicated to her son who was murdered as she stands with others at the gun reform rally at the steps of the Long Beach Convention Center outside of the California Democratic Convention In Long Beach Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Pastor Gregory Sanders prays with the group at the gun reform rally at the steps of the Long Beach Convention Center outside of the California Democratic Convention In Long Beach Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband, Steven, and her cat/child, Jones.
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