WASHINGTON (WSVN) — Organizers and student activists gathered in Washington, D.C. to reflect on the progress and pain one year after the inaugural March for Our Lives rally.
Survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre came together outside Capitol Hill to mark the anniversary with a new message, Tuesday.
Staked in the ground at the entrance of Capitol Hill, the message reads: “Your Complacency Kills Us.”
“Every single minute that there is inaction is another minute that one of our friends dies,” said Parkland survivor Lauren Hogg.
Hundreds of crosses, crescents and Stars of David were also on display to represent all of the people who they said have died from gun violence in just one week.
A bull’s-eye is also displayed in the middle of the exhibit, and at the center of the bull’s-eye is the figure of a student wearing a hoodie that reads: “Am I Next?”
The face of the figure is a mirror so that whoever walks up to it will see their own face.
“Gun violence strikes everywhere in this country, from the inner cities to the rural mountains,” said Parkland survivor Ryan Deitsch. “We have to realize that this issue is everywhere.”
Democratic lawmakers have spoken on change since the March for Our Lives rally.
“A gun safety majority that took action to pass gun violence legislation for the first time in decades,” said U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla.
The movement has once again been hit by pain and heartbreak as the Parkland community continues to mourn two more tragedies.
Nineteen-year-old Sydney Aiello committed suicide on March 17 after losing her friend, victim Meadow Pollack, in the Parkland massacre.
Aiello’s family said she suffered from survivor’s guilt.
“What we go through every single day is extremely hard,” said Hogg.
Calvin Desir, a sophomore at MSD, also took his own life, Saturday.
“It’s not a school. It’s a crime scene, and we have to realize that, in responding to that, we need to provide the proper amount of health care when necessary,” said Deitsch.
The suffering expanded to Connecticut Monday when 49-year-old Jeremy Richman, the father of Sandy Hook victim 6-year-old Avielle Richman, was found dead from a suspected suicide.
MSD survivors said these recent tragedies only show that gun violence doesn’t end when the shooting stops.
“We have to talk about suicide. It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to lean on one another,” said Deutch.
The students and lawmakers are now dealing with a new challenge as they hope to raise more awareness and end gun violence.
“This isn’t, of course, just about gun violence, but it’s also about mental health and the stigma we have around mental health in this country,” said Hogg.
“Too many holes are being made in our community right now, and the more and more this happens, the more and more it will fall apart,” added Deitsch.
The City of Coral Springs is trying to be proactive in the wake of these recent tragedies with a Mental Health and Suicide Prevention meeting.
Click here for more info on the meeting, scheduled for Wednesday.
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