SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Over 700 people from all over California and the country marched and rallied in downtown Sacramento Tuesday morning with a message for state lawmakers to advance the cause of victims rights.
The national organization sponsored the march that ended with a rally and vigil at the capitol. Those in attendance said that they want state leaders to increase funding for resources and organizations working directly with communities. They also want state leaders to support policies that address trauma and prioritize rehabilitation and healing.
Aswad Thomas, a victim of gun violence, is the managing director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.
“If we can invest in victims’ services, if we can invest in crime prevention, we can stope cycles of crime, and we can also help our communities heal across the state of California,” Thomas said.
Stedman Bailey, a former NFL player and gun violence victim, also shared a message.
“I became a victim of gun violence when I was shot twice, and that ended my football career,” Bailey said.
Bailey was a star wide receiver, playing three seasons with the Rams. Then in November of 2015, Bailey’s life changed forever while sitting in his car during a family trip to Florida.
While Bailey no longer performs on the field, off the field he is looking to achieve victories in another way.
“Getting a chance to go sit down with senators and letting my voice be heard for a cause that’s so much bigger than me and so I feel like I’m still making plays, just on a different playing field. Turn my pain into purpose so, that’s what it’s about for me,” Bailey said.