South L.A. community plans rally calling for new gun legislation

After the mass shooting in Las Vegas, personal items lie at the scene. Participants at a South L.A. rally are being encouraged to bring shoes belonging to or representing victims of gun violence.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

South Los Angeles community members will rally against gun violence Friday evening in an event called “They Used to Walk Among Us,” a reference to loved ones killed by guns.

The rally, hosted by Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D-Carson), will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at Manchester and Vermont avenues, organizers said. Participants are encouraged to bring shoes belonging to or representing victims of gun violence.

The shoes will be used in a memorial at the intersection.

“The NRA is holding Congress hostage from putting forth sensible gun legislation for America,” Gipson said. “This is a call to Congress to do their job to put forth sensible gun legislation that’s going to protect all Americans and decrease the gun violence that takes place on a daily basis in America and California.”


The event will include speeches by community members and leaders on how gun violence has affected them — from mothers to first responders to pastors, Gipson said.

More than two dozen school shootings have rocked the nation since Jan. 1, he said, adding that plenty of gun violence goes unreported.

Gipson said he hopes the rally will mobilize people to take action, call their representatives in Congress and spread the word through social media.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore, Sheriff Jim McDonnell, LAUSD board member Richard Vladovic, the Homeboy Industries and the Watts Neighborhood Council are among those who have been invited to participate.

The rally is Gipson’s latest effort at gun legislation following the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. Following that deadly Feb. 14 attack, California lawmakers pushed for 10 new gun-control bills, including AB 2383 by Gipson that would require background checks for people buying a part used to assemble an assault weapon at home.


Participants who bring new or slightly used shoes to Friday’s memorial will be able to donate them to homeless organizations.

“We want people to see that people used to walk in these shoes,” Gipson said. “They used to live and breathe. They used to say, ‘Mommy,’ ‘I’m going to work, honey.’ Now they’ll never feel what it means to be a parent to love and fall in love, they’ll never reach their fullest potential.”