WestportMoms, community march against gun violence in wake of recent shootings

Dozens of people took a stand in downtown Westport Wednesday, pushing for a future free from mass shootings.

Marissa Alter

Jun 8, 2022, 9:50 PM

Updated 717 days ago


Dozens of people took a stand in downtown Westport Wednesday, pushing for a future free from mass shootings. The “Stand up Against Gun Violence” march was organized by the group WestportMoms.
“We really try not to be political on our platform, but we felt like this was too important not to say something and do something,” said WestportMoms co-founder Melissa Post.
“We just wanted to do something to bring the community together to acknowledge what happened in Texas,” added WestportMoms co-founder Megan Rutstein. “It's time to act for the children we have lost and the children we can save.”
About 100 community members, along with dogs and strollers, gathered at Bedford Square, before marching in memory of the victims killed at Robb Elementary School and elsewhere in the country.
“You just wake up every morning, crying inside for these other moms and what they've gone through,” said Jen Berniker, a mom of two.

“Our children don't deserve to live in fear in school, and we don't deserve as parents to worry about them when they're there,” Miriam Young told News 12. She has two daughters, ages 9 and 6.

Many marchers wore orange and carried signs demanding federal lawmakers pass new gun control legislation, like universal background checks, raising the age to buy a gun, and banning assault weapons.

“Surely there is a common ground between the easy accessibility of AR-15s and no guns at all,” Young said.

“I hope that people put this issue at the top of their decision making when they're voting,” Berniker stated. “If a candidate can't be on the right side of this, then I don't really care what else they stand for. This is really the only issue that I care about.”

While Westport is known as a safe community, residents know mass shootings don't discriminate. The town is 22 miles from Sandy Hook, the country’s deadliest shooting ever at an elementary, middle or high school.

“That's what's so scary. It doesn't matter if you live in Westport, Uvalde, Texas, or wherever. This could happen anywhere,” Rutstein said.
The town’s police chief walked with the group, as did Republican First Selectman Jennifer Tooker and Democratic state Sen. Will Haskell. The effort also got some star power from TV producer Shonda Rhimes. Rutstein and Post said they were pleased with the turnout.

“I think it showed as we walked down Main St. and store clerks cheered and people honked in their cars--just showed that this community supports keeping our kids safe and nothing is more important,” said Post.

More from News 12