Two mothers speak out as hundreds gather to protest gun violence

EVERETT, Wash. — Hundreds of people joined together to march in a protest against gun violence.

It was part of the “March for Our Lives” rallies and marches across the country, including here in Western Washington.

This was an emotional day for a lot of people, especially for those who had lost children to gun violence.

But the impact is being felt far beyond them.

They gathered in Everett with one mission — to raise their voices in protest against gun violence. It seemed an almost sacred duty to the founder of Snohomish County Indivisible, who organized this rally and march.

“How could you not all be here today?” asked Naomi Dietrich. “What’s happening right now is bad. How could we let one more child, one more human being die from gun violence and not do something?”

“This week we took some action in the House of Representatives,” said Democratic Congressman Rick Larsen.

Larsen told the crowd that his chamber is doing something to curb gun violence.  But he acknowledged the uphill climb to get the upper chamber to act.

“The Senate, I don’t know what to tell the U.S. Senate,” said Rep. Larsen. “We’re doing our job. We’re setting the standard in the house by passing a comprehensive gun safety law, anti-gun violence bill. And the Senate needs to take it up and act soon.”

Some 28 miles away at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in South Seattle, the personal pain of loss from gun violence took center stage.

“And sometimes it’s really hard to mourn the death of my son as well as the death of me,” said Keonna Jackson.

Jackson described losing a child to gun violence as being a member of a club no one wants to join. But she did join it in April 2015, when her 24-year-old son, D’Andre Dickerson, was shot and killed.

“DeShawn Eugene Milliken was my baby boy,” said Wanda Montgomery, a member of the club, too. Her 30-year-old son was shot and killed in a Bellevue bar in 2012.

“I got the call,” said Montgomery, her voice breaking. “‘’Your boy have been shot.’ And my baby boy didn’t make it home.”

Then came the release of doves, a welcoming sign of the peace that these mothers said they still have not received.

The rally at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was sponsored by the Seattle chapter of the NAACP.

The men who killed these mothers’ sons were prosecuted and sent to jail. But these mothers said the pain of loss would always be there.