Moms Demand Action marches from White House to Capitol Hill after El Paso shooting – USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Hundreds of protesters gathered Saturday night in Washington to protest for gun legislation after a shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that killed 20 and injured at least 26.
Many of them are protesting with the organization Moms Demand Action, though a spokesperson with the organization noted that it wasn’t just moms in attendance. Students — and men — were there too.
Gathered in Washington for a leadership conference called Gun Safety University, volunteers nationwide with Moms Demand Action mobilized on the last day. What was supposed to be a celebratory closing gala turned into a dire political moment upon hearing the news of the shootings at El Paso.
“We know that Congress isn’t here, but we wanted to turn our grief into action,” Elva Mendoza, a Moms Demand Action volunteer, told USA TODAY.
As chants of “El Paso” and “Hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go” littered the air, protesters walked from the White House to Capitol Hill, eventually concluding the evening at Ulysses S. Grant Memorial.
One protester, dressed for the gala, marched in heels for the impromptu protest instead.
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Mendoza told USA TODAY that the impetus for the march was El Paso, but that they were marching for the lives lost from all gun violence.
“For an individual family that loses someone to gun violence, the enormity of the grief is the same,” Mendoza said.
A moment of silence took place earlier in the evening at the White House. It lasted 100 seconds, symbolizing the number of Americans shot and killed daily.
As the crowds dispersed, heading back to their hotels for the last night before returning to their respective hometowns, a passer-by shouted “Moms are awesome!”
“We won’t quit until we have safer gun laws,” said Mendoza. “We’re going to go back to our communities and take what we’ve learned and work.”
Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote