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Community leaders talk vigilance and remembrance at candle-lit vigil
Anita Tucker, treasurer for the Democratic Women of Forsyth County, speaks to a crowd of people at a candlelight vigil held Saturday to memorialize the victims killed during the Parkland, Fla. shooting. - photo by Alexander Popp

On Saturday, the Democratic Women of Forsyth County held a candlelight vigil to memorialize the 17 people killed during the Parkland, Fla. shooting and discuss the problems of gun violence in America.

“We want to honor the dead, and as a community, talk about things we can do to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” said Anita Tucker, treasurer for the Democratic Women of Forsyth County.

During the vigil, the assembled crowd heard from Tucker and several community leaders including Democratic congressional candidates Kathleen Allen and Josh McCall, local entrepreneur and politician Daniel Blackman and Rev. Bonnie Underwood, associate rector at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in Cumming.

“We are here to pay our respects for those who lost their lives last week and all those children who have lost their lives at mass shootings in schools in America,” said Kathleen Allen, a congressional candidate for Georgia’s 7th district.

During the event, Allen said that one of the problems she sees is how removed these events are from the public.

“We are very inoculated to the horror of these crimes. We hear about it on the news but we don’t see pictures ... We don’t see these bodies, and we don’t see the horror of children being gunned down with AR-15s. Perhaps if we did, we would change hearts and minds faster. But at the very least we need people like us out here memorializing those children and those teachers who were killed,“ Allen said.

Added Allen: “We cannot let ourselves be desensitized to this violence, and I’m not going to let that happen.”

Tucker spoke to the group about how furious she was at the continued prevalence of gun violence in the country.

She said that she remembered how shocked people were after the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999 and how amazed she is that things haven’t changed.

“Everyone was like, ‘it’s awful and should never happen again,’” and here we are almost 19 years later and it hasn’t gotten better; it’s gotten worse. And I personally believe that the gradual chipping away of gun control laws that we have has been a major factor,” she said.