What if we had a rally and more than 500 people showed up? That is what happened on March 24 in Sonoma when the Sonoma Valley Democrats hosted the Sonoma Valley March for Our Lives Rally. Our goal was to stand in solidarity with marches all over the country to demand that our lives become a priority, and that our representatives take action to prevent mass shootings in our country.
Folks of all ages made signs and filled the horseshoe area in front of the Plaza. Many participants stayed out front, chanting and waving to passing cars, while others gathered to hear speeches. Stephan Gale read a letter from Congressman Mike Thompson stating: “This year alone there have been at least 48 mass shootings and on average 30 people each day are killed by someone using a gun.” Local resident Carson Watson spoke powerfully about the tremendous loss of his brother-in-law at the McDonald’s massacre in San Ysidro in 1984. A young teenager told us that now when she enters a classroom, she is not thinking about learning, but looking for a place to hide. Sonoma Valley High School parent, Suzanna Bon, said, “Our lives are worth more than the power and profits agenda of the NRA. Enough!”
It is indeed enough. Other countries have violent video games and mentally ill people, but they do not suffer from these repeated attacks using weapons of war. While some support the right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms as set forth our Constitution, we must recognize that with that right comes responsibility. Demand that our representatives pass legislation to ban the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and close the loophole in our background check law that allows dangerous people to buy guns online or at gun shows.
I want to thank our students at Sonoma Valley High School for speaking out on this issue and all the marchers, speakers and volunteers who stood up for our right to safety in our schools and community. The effort cannot end there, we must demand change by repeatedly contacting our representatives and, of course, voting!
– Beth Hadley, Sonoma Valley