COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) — “No more guns, we want peace.”
It’s the chant coming from dozens of community members and law enforcement officials on Thursday as they march the Annual Anti-Gun Violence Walk at Benedict College.
The purpose? To fight for an end to gun violence… and advocate for safer action in the city of Columbia and around the state of South Carolina.
This marks the 7th year that the group has gathered for the walk.
Shortly before the walk started, participants were asked to honor their loved ones, friends and any others who have been affected by gun violence by signing cups and placing them along the fence line.
Benedict student Cassie Chandler lead the crowd around the block, chanting proudly among her colleagues. She said that the Anti-Gun Violence Walk is about two things: remembrance and awareness.
“We want to make sure we’re not only bringing awareness but also memorialize the people we have lost.”
She wanted to emphasize that gun violence affects everyone.
“You’re never too young. This can happen to you, someone older, someone younger,” said Chandler. “Nobody is ever safe, but we can do what we can do to make sure you’re safe.”
Among attendees was Saleemah Graham-Fleming, who lost her 15-year-old daughter, Sanaa Amenhotep, to gun violence just a few years ago. She continues to walk in the name her own, and the others lost to gun violence. She hopes to push accountability.
“I want them to think before they act,” said Graham. “Something they do out of impulse can cost you the rest of your life, whether you die early or go to jail, it can cost you.”