Montgomery County students rally against gun violence

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Many of the students who came out thursday are representing MOCO Students for Change.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDVM) — Students from Montgomery County and Washington, D.C. held a vigil for gun violence victims Thursday night.

Over 100 people went out to Lafayette Square Park, just across from the White House, rallying for stricter gun laws and reform following several mass shootings in America this past week.

MOCO Students for Change co-president Claire Gelillo said Thursday was “about coming together as a community and understanding that we’re losing real, human lives and that this is a very real issue.”

Many of the students who came out Thursday are representing MOCO Students for Change. The Montgomery County-based organization’s teenage co-presidents held the vigil in D.C. for a reason.

Aishlinn Kivlighn says, “D.C. is where the lawmaking and the policy happens, so we’re bringing it here and humanizing the issue directly where it has been politicized. It allows us an opportunity to bring that humanization of gun violence, not only to ourselves but the larger D.C. community.”

A local teacher spoke about the heartbreak of losing multiple students to gun violence.

“Karon Brown, I feel like I just saw him the other day for graduation rehearsal. Just a few weeks ago, he was shot across the street from our school. Just steps away from where he graduated.”

Yerim Kone is a student at Walter Johnson HS, he said, “My own brother cried, he was bawling, during an active shooter drill, because he thought there was actually a shooter on the premises. Why would an 11-year-old be crying and writing a note to his mother because he thinks someone is on the ground with an automatic weapon? It makes no sense. No one is safer by having more guns on the street.”

Kone said this problem is unique to the United States. He grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Ivory Coast, places he says are notoriously dangerous.

“We think of Africa, we think of that poor kid who’s starving with a fly on his face. That’s the image we have here in America. It’s a lot more developed than we think. But for countries that are underdeveloped, as we like to claim, we don’t have this many shootings.”

There did not appear to be any counter-protestors at the event.

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