Concert sparks gun violence conversation

Sage Zbinden | The Banner | Pianist and music director, Jerri Mendivel, keeps the vocalists in line while she plays.

With the increase in deadly mass shootings throughout the past decade, such as the Parkland shooting, and the Las Vegas shooting survivors, and other members of the public are holding a 10-day nationwide event called Concert Across America.

The Riverside Resistance Revival Chorus partnered with Riverside County’s chapter of the Brady Campaign Movement to End Gun Violence to take part in the event Sept. 23.

The Brady Campaign is named after President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary, Jim Brady, who was shot and seriously injured during the assas- sination attempt on Reagan.

Like many cities nationwide, the event will consist of a free concert and educational fair with booths such as the National Alliance on Mental Health, voter registration and Gluck, which is an arts out- reach booth created by the University of California, Riverside, among other activites.

Kris Lovekin, member of the Revival chorus and one of the organizers for Riverside’s concert, said the purpose of the event is improving gun laws and educating the public on how they can be more vocal and proactive regardless of their political beliefs.

According to the campaign’s official website, it has successfully advocated for a mandatory background check before purchasing a gun from a licensed dealer, a law that went into effect under President Bill Clinton.

The organization is now working to pass a law that requires all gun transactions to go through a universal back-ground check.

Nicolette Rohr, chairwoman for the Riverside chapter, said the campaign is actively working to change the culture around guns.

“The campaign has a multi-pronged approach in working to change lives and the gun industry,” Rohr said. “Another campaign we have is called ‘Ask’, and it encourages par- ents to ask if there are guns in the areas where children play and whether they are stored safely. We are working to make the awkward conversations less awkward.”

Members of the California Baptist University community also are taking part in the conversation that revolves around gun violence.

Ellen Davis, junior political science and international stud- ies double major and survivor of the Las Vegas shooting, calls for people to step up and help.

“Too often people are reacting to (the attacks); we see it in the news afterward,” Davis said. “The lack of change I see is frustrating, and the fact that so many people who are acting for change are people who al- ready had to live through these attacks or who lost someone because of them. What we need now is prevention.”

Another part of the event is the Revival chorus, a musical group of women who sing their protests to inspire others through song.

“All my life I’ve been interested in political issues,” Lovekin said. “This chorus for me is a way to do something positive in the world instead of just complaining and being mad. It gives me a positive outlet for my activism.”

Other musical groups performing in the concert include the Ramona High School Show Choir and singer-songwriter Rocky Peter, among others.

The event will take place at Ramona High School on Magnolia Avenue Sept. 23 at 3 p.m.

About Misty Severi

Staff Writer

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