SALT LAKE CITY — Kati Lewis, a mom and professor, fears for her life and the lives of her children and students every day, she said.
“Gun violence is uniquely American," she said. "If we truly have freedom in this country, that means any one of us should be able to go to any kind of space and be safe and free in that space."
Utahns remembered the lives lost after the two recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas at a vigil held at Salt Lake Community College's Salt Lake City campus Thursday night.
Organizers of the vigil read out the names of those who died and observed a moment of silence.
“We're a global community," said Anthony Nocella, an organizer for "Save the Kids Group." "We're like a pond. When you throw a rock or a pebble, it's going to have rippling effects.”
Gun violence in America can’t be blamed on mental illness alone, he said.
“We're looking at oppression," said Nocella. "We're looking at oppression towards people with disabilities and we're looking at oppression towards people that are Black in Buffalo, New York. So we have to really understand that if we want to eliminate this violence on this, you know on this planet, in schools, which is a microcosm of society, then we really need to address oppression.”
It’s on Utah to act now, before tragedy strikes here, said Lewis.
“Thoughts and prayers don't do anything,” she said. “Policy does something to save our communities, to protect our communities, and more importantly, to protect our children."