“This is a public health problem”

On Saturday, June 11, approximately two dozen Vineyarders gathered at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven to support March for Our Lives, a national call for action for smarter gun control laws and an end to gun violence. Although the address was different and the number of participants was significantly smaller than the march to our capital on Saturday, the passion for the cause was obvious.

Oak Bluffs’ Kathy Laskowski has also spread the word to the MV Times on social media platforms such as Islanders Talk and Indivisible Martha’s Vineyard on Facebook, hoping that people of all ages will come out to take the position. Indivisible organizes landmarks and rallies in support of racial justice, immigrant rights, climate change and health rights, among other important causes. With weekend events such as the Pride Parade, high school graduation, MV Dems and the League of Women Voters, Indivisible Martha’s Vineyard failed to lead the standings, but Laskowski was adamant: “I’ll just take the sign and go out there. If someone comes, that’s great. I just felt like I had to say something because it’s so important. ”

Among the first participants to arrive after Laskowski was Kelly McCowland of Katama. She was notified of the rally via the MV Black Lives Matter email list. “It’s just come to a point where standing aside is no longer an option,” McColand said. “It’s time to make a home-made sign and go to the corner of the street.” She arrived with one of the largest signs reading “Prohibition of weapons of attack.”

Many participants, such as McCausland, came prepared with their own homemade signs, but Sarah Nevin and her husband Bruce of Edgartown, members of the MV Peace Council, brought a box full of signs for those who came to show support but did not have one. . Some of the signs on the signs read, “You must not kill – the original gun control law” and “Congress opposes the NRA.”

At one point, two unidentified women approached the group and donated to the cause, one saying, “End gun violence.” Another sign made by Laskowski and her husband Bob, also present, showed an image of a CDC chart showing that guns were the leading cause of death among our youth. Bob Laskowski, a retired doctor, stressed that gun control is not just a political issue. “This is a public health problem and our current approach is extremely inadequate,” he said.

Ellen Wolfe of West Tisbury and a member of the MV Peace Council saw the e-mail message about the rally this morning and thought, “This is important, there are many important ones right now.” She fears that “as a country, our democracy is in trouble.” Other participants included Tony Kaufman of Oak Bluffs, Rev. Stephen Harding of Episcopal Grace, and Joe Finocchio and his wife, Cynthia Redshaw, who heard about Laskowski’s event. Also present was Lorna Andrade, a member of the League of Women Voters and the NAACP. Andrade, who is described as a force by those who know her, said: “You know what, if our congressmen and all our elected officials do not listen to us, then we vote to remove them from office.”

As islanders and visitors know, Five Corners is a lively place. It has been the site of many rallies over the years for important causes such as nuclear disarmament, health care, civil rights, climate change and abortion rights, to name a few.

On Saturday, passers-by, both on foot and in vehicles, were as passionate as the participants themselves, who held signs and could be heard shouting, “Thank you for doing this,” “the way I agree, I agree.” As vehicles passed by and screams, shouts, and signals filled the air, Sarah Nevin said, “This corner was very useful.”

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