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Junior Newtown Action Alliance calls for support at Gun Violence Awareness Day rally

"I don't want a shooting to define anyone else's life we need more help, we need your support," said Maggie LaBanca a survivor of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Many young people in Newtown have grown up carrying the weight of tragedy.

"I was 8 years old sitting in a classroom on a Friday when the lights shut off and I was told to hide," said Maggie LaBanca, co-chair, of the Junior Newtown Action Alliance.

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Nearly 10 years after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School those young people are using their voices to call for change.

"I don't want a shooting to define anyone else's life we need more help, we need your support," LaBanca said.

On National Gun Violence Awareness Day, the Jr. Newtown Action Alliance led a sea of people wearing orange, calling on lawmakers to pass gun control measures.

In just the last few weeks, communities like Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas, have joined Newtown on the list of places where gun violence has taken people's lives.

"Most parents have photos of their children with them, it shouldn't be in the form of a mass card but this is my little Daniel," said Mark Barden.

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His son was among the 26 killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy. His non-profit, Sandy Hook Promise, works to educate people about the warning signs of gun violence.

But, he said it's going to take more than that to end the violence.

"We need the weight and the power and the advocacy of the American people behind us," Barden said. "This is an epidemic and there are solutions available to us that not only do not infringe on anyone's rights but they also protect their rights," he said.

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The focus is not only on mass shootings but also on gun violence that impacts communities every day.

"Community-level gun violence. Black and brown communities have been suffering for decades. It happens every day. We have to put an end to that," said Jeremy Stein, executive director of CT Against Gun Violence.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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