February 11, 2020 Blog

Seattle Mass Shooting Vigil

On Wednesday, January 22nd, during the busiest time of day in one of the busiest parts of Seattle, a horrific act of gun violence shook our community. This was the third shooting in downtown Seattle in just over one day; one of which was an act of police violence in Belltown Wednesday afternoon.

In total, seven people were injured in the mass shooting, and one woman, Tanya Jackson, was killed. She is described by close friends as a “pillar in the community,” who also says that she was a “nurturing” woman with a big heart. She cared for those experiencing homelessness and addiction recovery in Seattle, using her lived experience as a bridge to connect with those seeking help and love. She will be deeply missed. Others injured included a nine-year-old boy, who was treated at Harborview hospital in downtown Seattle.

On Saturday, February 2nd, March for our Lives Seattle held a vigil to honor the victims of the evening shooting and to recognize the start of National Gun Violence Survivors Week. Despite the cold and blustery weather, dozens of people gathered to listen to the voices of the next generation of activism in Seattle and to learn from members of Washington state organizations like Moms Demand Action, Washington CeaseFire and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. Also speaking was a proxy for Rep. Pramila Jayapal and a surgeon who has had firsthand experience treating victims of gun violence.

This event, like many others, was an emotional call to action from Seattle’s community. People held up signs that showed the number of gun deaths in America since January 1st, 2020 (3,377) and signs that called for a National Bureau for Gun Safety. The Alliance asked people to channel their grief into action by attending their upcoming Lobby Day on February 14th.

The speeches and conversations at the vigil brought intimacy and humanity to the statistics shown in recent Seattle news and a safe space for many people to express their emotions around gun violence in their hometown. Although it was a beautiful gathering, it is disheartening to know that we live in a country where gun violence vigils are becoming more and more common.

–Ruby Masters is a GVP activist and Alliance supporter.