On Wednesday morning, over 1,000 miles away from Parkland, Florida, roughly 50 Oxford residents and Miami students gathered in Uptown Park for a vigil to mark the losses of 17 students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month.
The vigil was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Oxford and the Oxford Citizens for Peace and Justice.
The crowd, most of whom were Oxford residents, gathered on the curb near Uptown Park in the below-freezing weather. Participants greeted each other and aimed their signs towards the passing cars.
Conversation petered out as an organizer announced it was 10 a.m. The bell tower chimed and the group fell silent for 17 minutes, one minute for each life lost.
Some bowed their heads, others looked defiantly out into the street. The silence was disturbed only by Oxford traffic and the occasional sniffle.
Signs with the words “Stand With Students Against Gun Violence” and other messages of resistance were waved.
The silence was broken at precisely 10:17 a.m., when the protesters began to chant “Enough!” Afterward, organizers made their way through the crowd.
They handed out postcards to send to congressmen, urging lawmakers to “do their jobs and ban assault weapons now.”
They also distributed contact information for the coordinators of various Butler County political activist groups, local and state campaigns.