“March for Our Lives” demonstrations held in Cape Fear region

Nearly 500 participated in Southport and Wilmington sibling events

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY)- The recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas have many people pushing for change across the nation, including in the Cape Fear region.

Southport NC Indivisible held a rally in Franklin Square Park on Saturday in solidarity with a student-led demonstration – ‘March for Our Lives’ –  in support of gun control legislation.

Cheryl Fulton is a member of the group and one of the organizers who spoke to the nearly 300 people in attendance.

The event has several speakers, singers, and tables with organizations who helped promote gun safety.

“Gun violence accounts for over 110 deaths every single day,” said Fulton. “They’ve turned a blind eye to the fact that six out of the nine of the deadliest mass shooting since 2019 – have been committed by people 21-years and under.

MaryEllen Kuhn’s felt obligated to attend.

Her grandchildren attended Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut in December of 2012, the day 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children.

“It’s just lots of sadness,” she said.

Kuhn says eight years later the graduating class was recognized with armbands worn by surviving students.

“Special recognition, and what does the special recognition do,” said Kuhn. “All of their lives they have reminders of this.”

Those attending the rally expressed the need for stricter gun regulations.

‘March for our Lives’ put out a call to action, encouraging people all over the country to hold rallies, the crowds in both Southport and Wilmington accepting that call, in support to end gun violence.

More than 200 people attended the rally and march, in the Port City, put together by Women Organizing for Wilmington

There were singers, speakers, activists, elected officials, and victims of gun violence, all uniting for one cause.

“Gun violence took my child, our children are dying on the street and have been dying on streets for years in our black communities,” said Martha Afetse, whose son was killed nine years ago in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Shot 18 times,” she said. “Left to die in his car, that’s my son, he was unrecognizable.”

Afetse said she’s not against gun ownership.

“You should not be able to have an automatic rifle,” she said. “So if you’re hunting, use your guns to hunt, people have their guns to protect their homes, that’s their right.

What’s not right, according to both organizers and participants, are the mass shootings that keep happening throughout the country.

Kuhn said more people need to be angrier, and added there are ways to help.

“Try and figure out where their role is and what they can do,” she said. “If in fact, they are sad about this, then do something about this.”

Afetse said she continues to hurt for the loss of her son and for the victims, who’ve experienced what she has.

“I mean the agony of our children just dying,” she said. “How do we save our children?”

The first March for Our Lives demonstration happened in Washington, D.C.in 2018, with sibling events popping up throughout the United States.

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