HILLSBORO, OR (KPTV) – Many Americans are still reeling over two mass shootings earlier this month.
They happened just hours apart, killing a combined 31 people. The first was in El Paso, Texas at a shopping center. The other was in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio.
In our area, Hillsboro community leaders joined together Monday night. Their goal was to show solidarity for those killed and their families.
Monday started with a press conference in the morning that featured community and faith leaders calling for an end to racist gun violence in America and concluded with a rally in the evening.
Community members gathered outside the Hillsboro Civic Center on Monday in a show of support for communities impacted by deadly gun violence in America.
“We can take action. There are things we can do to make this stop, so we will keep going,” said Hilary Uhlig, leader of the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action.
Speakers called for action.
“The mass shootings are horrible, but it’s really something that we need to keep in mind is happening every single day… disproportionately in communities of color,” said Uhlig.
As gun violence continues to take a toll on the hearts and minds of people near and far, comfort can be hard to find.
“Even when they’re not happening here in our own neighborhoods, they could happen here, and what are we doing? What are we doing to cultivate kindness?” said Glenn Montgomery, the executive director of Vision Action Network.
So the few dozen that came out Monday all sought the same thing: solidarity.
“This is my community. This is where I live, this is my community. This is what’s affecting my people,” said Clifford Jones, pastor at Sonrise Church.
“There’s also fear. To come to a space where there are multiple people sending this message, knowing that there are other people that are anti-community and that they might do something to hurt me or my son or the community, it’s a risk we take when we’re coming out but if we don’t speak up, like what’s going to change?” said Angela Vargas.
Those who were there Monday admit change won’t be immediate. That’s the last thing they expect.
“America has come through plenty… I’m going on 63 years old, I’ve seen plenty in this world,” Jones said.
Instead, they gathered to find strength in one another.
“I’ve got kids in high school and they’ve both been in lockdowns, and they’ve both texted me, ‘I love you mom’ just in case and that is heartbreaking, and I felt powerless and helpless,” said Uhlig.
Taking the time to simply show up, what they say is only a step in the long road ahead.
People ended the rally with a moment of silence to honor those killed in the Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas shootings, among them several members of local fire, EMS and law enforcement.
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