One million moms on Mother’s Day
On Mother’s Day this year I watched my mom stand amongst somewhere between 500,000 and 750,000 mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, grandmothers, grandfathers, politicians and social activists gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for the Million Mom March.
I stood on the soft green grass in my bare feet just watching her, my brother and dad at my side, all around us passionate cheers and picketers pleading to end gun violence and the nation’s Capital loomed in the distance.
Over her shoulder, large screens displayed Dawn Anna, who’s daughter was killed last year in the Columbine High School shooting. Next to her, a mother was weeping for her teenage son who was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting.
It was an emotional moment for me right then, I realized how lucky we were, my mom and I. How lucky we all were, the four of us standing there in the crowd. I felt so proud, scared and moved all at once.
It was Mother’s Day, and we actually just stumbled upon the Million Mom March. I was home visiting my family that weekend in Richmond, Va. to watch my dad graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University’s master’s of business program, to celebrate his birthday (which fell on Mother’s Day this year), to celebrate Mom’s Day and see my brother, who came down from Philadelphia.
My mom had been invited to attend the Million Mom March with some of her activist friends, one who was coming from Atlanta. She declined, saying she wanted to spend time with her family.
After spending my last night ever in the suburban Virginia house I lived during my teenage years, the four of us left for D.C., where my parents are moving next month. I was seeing their new home in northern D.C. for the first time and we were going to cruise around the city to check out their new neighborhood for the day.
With 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue being just a few metro stops away, by mid-day we wandered onto the far end of the Mall, the other side of National Monument and first stumbled into the counter-demonstration, organized by the Second Amendment Sisters.
It was a smaller group, that looked like a few hundred, of women of all ages, men and children. Picket signs included: “Self Defense is a Human Right,” “Armed, Female and Proud,” and “Granny against Gun Control.”
We trekked towards Capital Hill, and were thus inspired to check out who had gathered for the Million Mom March and how many were actually there. It seemed like a long walk towards the echoing voices. As a family, the four of us had not been to D.C. since my brother and I were little. We reflected on our last trip, which included an elevator ride to the top of the National Monument, a tour of the National Air and Space Museum, a movie showing of “Annie,” and a trip to the Washington National Zoo, where on April 24 a 16-year-old boy allegedly opened fire and wounded seven children between the ages 11 and 16.
When we finally came to edge of the thick crowd, thousands deep from the podium, we heard story after story about victims from gun violence. We didn’t stay for the whole rally, but we stayed long enough to feel very close as a family, fortunate there are no victims of gun trauma in our bunch.
Moments later, we were weaving about other demonstrators throughout the city to catch the metro to airport, where my family would see me off.
I was truly discouraged when I arrived the next morning at work to hear people mocking the “soccer moms” who must have “pulled up to the march in their mini vans.” I bet there were a lot of mothers present who indeed have children who play soccer, children they support, but have lost to gun violence. There were moms there who probably drove to D.C. from all over the U.S. with other mothers, with their children, friends and family members in mini vans. But there were moms of all ethnic backgrounds, some from inner city neighborhoods from many different U.S. cities, representing the extremely poor, the lower, middle and
upper classes. There were dads, brothers, sisters, politicians, TV stars (Rose O’Donnell), mothers with baby strollers, grandmothers and grandfathers present as well.
They were there to say there are frankly too many people dying from gun violence in this country and the problem seems to be getting worse. I agree.
Executive vice president of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre said on a television talk show that gun registration and licensing is “nothing but a controlled burn of the Second Amendment” and “That’s not the answer … You don’t want to set aside or set on fire our freedoms. What you want to do is you want to enforce the laws against the bad guys we already have.”
I don’t really think the issue is about the second amendment. It’s about controlling who can carry guns and attempting to keep them out of the hands of criminals and children. Of course, being present at the demonstration got me thinking more about these issues and I will not get into it all here and now.
But more than anything, the demonstration was a special part of Mother’s Day for my family and though my mom didn’t make it there with her activist friends, I think she’s glad she made it there with us.
Abby Hutchison is a reporter for the Sierra Sun and her parents sold their mini van two years ago.
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