A gun reform advocacy group says the number of people who want to join in the wake of the Parkland shooting is astronomical.
Leaders of Moms Demand Action say they have never seen anything like this membership increase. They believe it's because a small group of courageous young people are speaking up and making a difference.
Danelle Egan is a busy woman. Ever since the tragedy in Florida, the upper Fairfield County director of Moms Demand Action has been trying to figure out how she can help.
“I know what the kids are going through and I don't want any other kids to go through that any families to go through that,” Egan said.
She understands the pain Parkland is dealing with because during the Sandy Hook shooting, she was down the street working as an English teacher at Newtown Middle School.
“We knew something was wrong because we were hearing helicopters and things overhead,” Egan said.
However, she has channeled her sadness and anger into action. Moms Demand Action works to wipe out gun violence.
“I wanted to feel like I was making a difference, I was tired of feeling helpless as we heard about every new shooting,” Egan said.
Ever since the shooting in Florida she's had a lot more people who want to help. Normally about 15 people show up at membership meetings, but Sunday in Westport more than 200 people attended.
“I would say welcome and the response was I’m here because I’m fed up. I can't tell you how many times I heard that expression,” Egan said.
She believes the reason for the increased activism is the eloquent way in which many Parkland students have been speaking out.
“I think it's making adults realize ‘shame on you’ if you're not helping the cause, because we have 17-year-old’s who can't even vote and they're out there making a difference,” Egan said.
Moms Demand Action has been inspired to create a sister organization for students so young people can find their voice.
Egan’s 12-year-old daughter Ella plans to join because she looks at the Parkland survivors as role models.
“Some of the speakers gave me chills when I saw them on TV because they were very passionate about the topic you could feel it through the tv when you were watching,” Ella said.
Egan said the battle over gun reform is far from over but she believes the Parkland students and the thousands of people they have inspired will make a difference.
“I think people are really ready and I think people are not willing to let pessimism keep them away from trying to make a change,” Egan said.
Moms Demand Action is one of the organizers of next month's March for your Life, and the name of their new sister organization will be called Students Demand Action.
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