When we think of the March for Our Lives event that took place in Washington, D.C. last month, as well as the related marches that have taken place across the U.S., we often think about gun violence survivors, gun control advocacy groups like Everytown for Gun Safety, and celebrities like Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus and George and Amal Clooney who are fighting for change.
But how often do we think of grandparents participating in those marches?
A group of grandmas that don the name Grandmothers Against Violence are making headlines for their participation in a rally in Arlington, TX, where they wore bright orange shirts and toted a banner that read, “We Have Your Backs.” They’ve gained a lot of attention since they were spotted by CNN on an Arlington resident’s Instagram account.
Another group of grandmothers in the Ohio area are doing about the same, though they go by the name Grandmas Against Guns. The eight-woman group from Northeast Ohio participated in the rally in Cleveland.
“We as older people need to support these young people,” group member Mary Maglicic said. “We need to be behind them; we weren’t good with leading ourselves. We have kids, grandkids in schools and so our love for our grandkids, our love for our adult sons and daughters who are in education, who have children who should be able to go to school feeling confident that they’ll be safe.”
Grandmothers Against Gun Violence also shares this idea of protecting their children and future generations by working to prevent gun violence.
The group’s first branch started in 2013 in response to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. That branch has since changed its name to Grandparents Against Gun Violence, which serves the Missouri and Kansas area.
The grassroots group, which is based in Seattle, collaborates with other activists and organizations to fight against gun violence and “societal factors” that may increase its chances of occurring, such as bullying and a lack of mental health care.
“We write legislators, sign petitions, attend candidate forums, participate in rallies, partner with like-minded groups to add voices to the cause,” the group’s website says. “We believe in public education on the topic of gun responsibility and gun violence. Our strength is in our numbers and persistence. We are grass roots with deep roots and, as grandmothers, we seek a safer world for our grandchildren and for theirs.”
While it’s so important that these grandparents are providing their opinions for the sheer fact of numbers, their advocacy is also helping to challenge what it means to be an activist.
Most of the protesters and advocates we see taking part in today’s marches and rallies are millennials or younger, so seeing grandmas protesting alongside them is not something we’re extremely used to. It shows us that grandmas are more than just great cooks and nurturing caretakers.
By fighting against gun violence, these grandmas are not only rediscovering their own voices, but also inspiring their children and grandchildren to make their voices heard as well. These are the kind of women that belong in a textbook!
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