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Advocates gather in memory of victims of Sandy Hook, shootings in other communities

SH Vigil Screengrab
Newtown Action Alliance (screengrab)
Advocates against gun violence gathered in remembrance of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting ahead of Tuesday's nine-year anniversary. The National Vigil for All Victims Of Gun Violence was held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Washington D.C.

The Newtown Action Alliance hosted a forum in Washington D.C. Wednesday night for people to speak out against gun violence. The organization held its vigil ahead of the nine-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Dozens gathered inside St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. to pray, watch live performances, and hear people’s stories.

Maggie LaBanca, a junior leader within the Newtown Action Alliance, was a third grader at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14, 2012, when 20 children and six adults were murdered at her school. LaBanca was friends with one of the victims, Daniel Barden.

“I look for Daniel everywhere because it’s hard to accept that I’ve lost him,” LaBanca said. “It seems impossible at times to move on, but after it all, I still try. I try because the one thing that nine years has given me is time.”

The event is held in the nation’s capital every year so that advocates can get in front of federal lawmakers to lobby them on gun control the following day.

The vigil also featured testimony from people in other communities that’ve experienced gun violence. Mia Tretta, 16, was shot in the abdomen in a Santa Clarita, California high school two years ago. Two of her classmates, Gracie Muehlberger, 15, and Dominic Blackwell, 14, were murdered in the shooting.

“Gun violence stole my friends and my childhood,” Tretta said.

The vigil ended with attendees holding up candles as they stood in silence to Tretta playing “Imagine” by John Lennon on the piano.

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