ORLANDO, Fla. — More than 20 community action groups Friday night gathered in Orlando to remember the victims of all mass shootings and demand lawmakers pass stricter gun legislation.
- Orlando groups gather to honor victims of recent mass shootings
- Many groups called for action from lawmakers on stronger gun control
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Dozens packed a small Orlando church to honor the people killed in recent mass shootings.
Leaders of different faiths, including a rabbi and an Imam, read aloud the names of the victims shot in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Gilroy, California.
Speakers like Yasmin Flasterstein also came to the vigil to call for action. She’s a survivor of gun violence herself.
“I woke up one day, and there were two men standing above my bed with guns — probably 18 years old, definitely shouldn’t have been able to have a gun. But when you’re on the other end of gun violence, you’re helpless,” she said.
Flasterstein, who now identifies as a mental health advocate, says equating violence with mental illness can stigmatize open conversations around mental health.
“Violence and hatred — those aren’t mental illnesses, but they are things that with mental health care, people can learn more positive coping skills,” she said.
Other speakers at the vigil, including a Parkland high school student and a Pulse nightclub survivor, demanded lawmakers pass stricter gun control.
“Rubio and Scott need to demand that Mitch McConnell bring HR8 to a vote,” said a member of Moms Demand Action in reference to a bill passed by the U.S. House, which would require background checks on all gun sales.
But just as important, according to Flasterstein, is for people to take care of themselves and their mental health amid recent mass shootings.
“So I just want to empower people to find the way that they heal, and if they struggle with figuring out what that is, then seek professional help, because there’s no shame in it,” she said.