SACRAMENTO -- Several hundred kids and parents attended a high energy anti-gun and unity rally at Cesar Chavez Park on Thursday as part of Anti-Gun Violence Month.
Sponsored by the local Black Child Legacy Campaign, it was an effort to highlight the high incidents of gun violence involving children.
While some participants carried Black Lives Matter signs and there was some criticism of gun violence by police, organizers said the emphasis was on the damage gun violence does to everyone.
A moment of silence was held for Officer Tara O’Sullivan, who was shot to death last week and whose memorial service was held the same day.
Derrell Roberts of the Roberts Family Development Foundation, one of the sponsors of the event, said there is common ground to be found on the issue of gun violence.
“It’s actually a unifying issue for those of us who recognize it impacts us all,” Roberts said.
Many of the rally-goers were from the Freedom Schools summer program and as young as 5 years old. The leader of the Sierra Health Foundation, which is taking a leading role in the anti-gun campaign, said change starts with the young.
“Young people’s exposure to gun violence is so rampant, particularly in communities of color, that you can never start too soon and you can never do too much," said Chet Hewitt, president and CEO of the Sierra Health Foundation.
Hewitt said local efforts are paying off because there was not a child homicide in Sacramento all of last year.