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HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS)– Since the Highland Park July 4th parade massacre, momentum has been building, and membership has been soaring, for grassroots organizations like Moms Demand Action.
They are pushing for gun reform and a ban on assault rifles.
As CBS 2’s Carlie De Mar reported, a new members’ meeting of the Highland Park and Deerfield chapter of Moms Demand Action was held Tuesday evening. Nearby, the memorials to the seven lives lost in the parade massacre are still standing – and people continue to come and pay their respects.
The message was clear from the organizers — you don’t have to be a political strategist or lobbyist to make a difference in Washington. It turns out being a mom comes with its own set of powers.
Among the relatively newly-involved moms is Lauren Brown – a busy mother of three. She admits that when it came to gun violence, she previously didn’t pay much attention – until the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
“And then a couple days later, the shooting happened in Highland Park,” Brown said. “The fight is now here at home.”
Brown has since taken an active leadership in the Moms Demand Action group in Highland Park and Deerfield. The grassroots movement has its sights set on a very clear goal.
“The goal is to ban assault weapons,” Brown said. “That’s our main focus right now.”
Alexi Vahlkamp is the co-head Moms Demand Action Highland Park/Deerfield.
“We know the hard part is actually doing the work, and we are ready to do the work,” she said.
Vahlkamp and a room full of Moms Demand Action members mobilized, and put in the work, Tuesday in Highland Park.
Meeting attendees were asked to write their reason for there on Post-It notes and mount them on the wall. Everyone’s reason was as unique as this country’s gun violence epidemic.
“I’m just a mother who ran for her life with her 2-year-old,” said Brittany Wroblewski.
Wroblewski survived July 4th shooting in downtown Highland Park. She is one of about 800 members who have joined Moms Demand Action since the massacre.
“We’re angry. We’re done. We’ve had it” Wroblewski said at the meeting, “and we will show them enough is enough.”
Some might think the momentum felt by these moms might swing to a stop eventually. As she swung her baby in her backyard Tuesday, Brown said don’t count on it.
“We’re committed, and our voices are loud – and we’re going away,” Brown said.
“For people who think we’re going to be tired – we’re always tired,” added Vahlkamp. “We are moms.”
Many members who attended Tuesday also marched for gun reform on Capitol Hill just weeks ago. Now, they are hoping to continue that fight at home.