EL DORADO, Arkansas (08/16/19) A group in Southeast Arkansas wants you to join its rally tomorrow to put an end to gun violence.
The El Dorado chapter of the Moms Demand Action group will host a rally at Mattocks Park at 6 p.m. It will include a candlelight vigil and memory wall for those that have been impacted by gun violence.
Speakers will include Pastor Erma Jackson of Faith in the Word Christian Church, El Dorado City Councilman Willie McGhee, and families who have lost loved ones to gun violence. They will also be urging residents to contact state senators to pass sensible gun laws.
The chapter has been active for over a year. Moms Demand Action is a national movement of Americans that are fighting to protect people from gun violence. They believe that gun violence has plagued this country for far too long and mothers near and far are fed up.
“Until we come together as a community, to see about each other’s children we’re going to continue to see this happening,” Pastor Erma Jackson said.
Their goal is to fight gun violence by encouraging legislators to change laws. They’re calling for new gun laws including national background checks, red flags laws and some sort of greater accountability.
“We’re not against the Second Amendment. We’re not against guns,” Kelly Reyes said. “We are against just senseless gun violence.”
Reyes is a teacher at Washington Middle School. She remembers when the school went on lock down last year because of a shooting nearby. The school was on lock down for an hour before police cleared the scene.
“This brought home real quickly that this can happen anywhere and it does happen anywhere,” Reyes said.
Gun violence goes beyond mass shootings. The moms say it has impacted the El Dorado community as well. Octavius Critton, 17, and Randall Farlin, 22, were both young men killed in shootings just this year.
“These young vibrant folks who definitely didn’t have their full lives to contribute to our communities and our communities are lost without them,” Reyes said.
The recent gun violence has even encouraged youth in the community to take action.
A group of student volunteers have been at the forefront of planning the rally. They hope to begin a Students Demand Action chapter at the high school. There is a teacher that has agreed to oversee the group. Now, they’re just filling out the paperwork.
“Young people will definitely be the change that we see to gun legislation,” Reyes said. “I believe that wholeheartedly.”
Community leaders and the youth are all urging that you be a part.
“Everyone that has children or maybe you don’t have children, just come out and be a support and give your opinion and your views on what we can do to a put a stop to this,” Pastor Jackson said.
For anyone interested in joining the group, The El Dorado chapter will have a meeting on August 26 at 6 p.m. at Applebees.