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Youth organize March for Our Lives marches in state, nation

Young marchers against gun violence draw tears from veteran marchers

Across the PNC, members of UCC congregations participated in the Women’s March on January 20 and the March for Our Lives on March 24, as have people across the nation and world.

Ruth Brandon of Everett UCC joined the March for Our Lives with her grandson and 11 others from her church.                                        
Photo courtesy of Ruth Brandon

Ruth Brandon, of Everett UCC and the Global Ministries Committee of the PNC and Northwest Region Disciples of Christ, was one of 11 members of her church joining in the March for Our Lives in Everett.  Others from her church joined the march in Seattle.

She returned home to listen to TV summaries and reviews of the day and to interviews with students. 

“The Washington, D.C., student speeches and the numbers of people participating all over the country were really deeply emotional for me,” Ruth said.  “I knew many, many demonstrations: civil rights, women’s rights, anti-Vietnam war, anti-apartheid and pro-independence for Portuguese colonies in Africa, anti-Klan, pro-peace, and smaller ones for welfare rights, student rights and more.

“I am so thankful to see a new generation in the streets and militant for change to make the world they grow up in better,” she said.  “We movement people of the 1960s are their ready-made allies.”

Ruth like others reported having tears of joy.

“I think I may have had more tears today than when my mother died. She was 99 years old.  I celebrated her life and I still miss her and think of her, but today’s youth make me cry that they are so strong, on target, determined and together,” Ruth said.  “May they have the stamina to continue and may they indeed register and vote. They are beautiful, and I am grateful for them.”

The March for our Lives in Everett, with good adult support and good speeches by primarily youth, drew about 500 people from Marysville, Mukilteo and Everett.

Ruth marched with her son and grandson.

Members of Westminster UCC in Spokane march with their sign.
Photo courtesy of Westminster UCC

About 5,000 marched in Spokane, including many from Westminster Congregational UCC and Veradale UCC.

Youth from area middle schools and high schools organized the Spokane rally in Riverfront Park and march along several blocks downtown.

They carried signs and repeated chants that said: “Kids not guns.” “Love not hate makes America great.”

“No more thoughts and prayers. Take action, show you care,” read one sign.

“Am I next?” asked another.

They made it clear, they are not about removing every firearm from every home, but making gun ownership more responsible so everyone is safer.

They now have a facebook page, No Kids Left Spokane.  The group organized a March 14 school walk out for a month after the Parkland, Fla., shooting, and plan walkouts for April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine, Colo., shooting.

German UCC in Seattle opens doors to people during marches.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Wert

In Seattle, when a large march was held at Cal Anderson Park across from the German United Church of Christ in Seattle, Thomas Wert, pastor, opens the building so marchers can have access to refreshments and restrooms.

Veradale UCC found another way to express its concerns about gun violence by using its church sign to say, “We stand with Parkland High School kids.  Thoughts and prayers are not enough.”

Members worked together to decide what to say on their signboard after another mass shooting.

Gen Heywood, pastor, said they surrounded the base of their sign with chicken wire for “all those too chicken to do something about gun violence.”

Veradale UCC signboard in Spokane Valley is interactive.
Photo courtesy of Gen Heywood

On the chicken wire, hangs a ribbon for each child—17 years or younger—who has died in gun violence2018. These children have died in their homes, schools and neighborhoods. There were 263 ribbons on the wire as of Sunday, March 11, 2018. The number killed comes from the,

“Every Sunday, ribbons are passed out at the beginning of worship for the lives of children lost during the week,” said Gen.

Members of the congregation hold the ribbon and keep all the friends and family of the child in prayer through the worship service. After worship, the ribbon is added to the chicken wire. 

“While the church is active in thoughts and prayers We, like so many of our other UCC churches, know that this is not enough,” she said. “So, in our love for neighbor, children and the planet, we also participate in marches, letters to the editor, city council meetings and other groups moving toward a more just and compassionate society.

For information, call 425-220-2476 or 509-926-7173.


Pacific Northwest United Church News © April-May 2018


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