Join Us March 24 to March for Our Lives

Join Us March 24 to March for Our Lives

Besides the March for Our Lives in Sacramento to the state Capitol, there will be others in Santa Rosa, above, and in the northern part of our diocese.

By the Rev. James Richardson, Priest-in-Charge, Incarnation, Santa Rosa

The epidemic of mass shootings, as horrific as they are, have felt distant to me. They have been in someone else's town, someone else's state, someone else's church, someone else's school.I must confess after every mass shooting, that without realizing it, I have become a little less shocked.

Until the shootings in Yountville last week. Among the three women shot and killed was Jennifer Gonzales, who Lori and I had known when she was a teenager growing up in Sacramento.

She was always smiling, always enthusiastic, always caring for others. We knew her especially as a bubbling teen presence at Camp Sacramento in the Sierra during the summer.

Jennifer had gone off to college and become a dedicated clinical psychologist working with the Department of Veteran Affairs with veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. She was 32, and married a year ago. When she died, she was seven months pregnant with their first child.

Jennifer was best friends with another young woman who we have remained close to over the years, Susan Hennessey, who grew up at Trinity Cathedral and now lives on the East Coast.

Susan was quoted last week in the San Francisco Chronicle, remembering her friend as a "sunny, beautiful, unfailingly kind little girl who grew up to be a sunny, beautiful, unfailingly kind woman."

"Jenn was good, from head to toe," Susan said. "Thoroughly good in a way that is exceptionally rare. ... She dedicated her life to helping veterans who were hurting."Many are left hurting, Many, many hearts are broken.


***
It is time to march for our lives.

On Saturday, March 24, Deacon Pamela Moore, from my parish in Santa Rosa, and I will join other Episcopal clergy and lay leaders at the state capitol at the March for Our Lives. We are marching to say, "Put down the guns - we have had enough of this." 

There will be other marches nationwide, including in Santa Rosa a few blocks from our parish.

The Episcopal Church has long stood for reasonable gun controls, and the bishops of our church, including Bishop Barry Beisner, issued a statement last week urging us to support this march and these efforts at gun control. We hope you will join us.

Deacon Pamela preached a powerful sermon at the Church of the Incarnation a few days after the Yountville shootings about why we march, and please let me close with a few of her words:

"We are all entitled to live lives free from fear, oppression, humiliation, conquest, and domination. We have the right to live in peace, to make a good living, to feed our families, to have housing, to love whom we love, to do good works, and to prosper...

"The #NeverAgain movement (organizing the march), begun and led by young people, challenges the status quo and demands that we move beyond saying, 'Our thoughts and prayers are with you' after each mass shooting to having real national conversations about gun violence, how to address it, and how to ensure that it does not happen again."

You can get more information about the march in Sacramento here. Our clergy plan to meet near the corner of 3rd and O streets on the southeast corner of Crocker Park around 9:30 a.m.; the march to the Capitol is scheduled to begin at 10. Parking may be a problem; the two nearest garages are:

  • Old Sacramento Garage, entrance on I Street between 3rd and 2nd.
  • Tower Bridge Garage, entrance on Capitol Blvd at Neasham Circle near the Tower Bridge.

You can get more information about the march in Santa Rosa here

In Arcata, Deacon Anne Pierson says, "The students at Arcata High School are planning to put on a March for our Lives at noon on 3/24, meeting at the Arcata Playhouse, located at 1259 9th St., Arcata. To date, everything is being learned via word of mouth and, in a small community, that works fairly well!"


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