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Rally in Waukegan held to remember victims of gun violence

A rally was held Waukegan Saturday remember victims mass shooting Sandy Hook Elementary School year ago. | JUDY MASTERSON~SUN-TIMES MEDIA

A rally was held in Waukegan on Saturday to remember the victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School a year ago. | JUDY MASTERSON~SUN-TIMES MEDIA

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Updated: January 17, 2014 6:25AM

The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was remembered in downtown Waukegan last Saturday on the first anniversary of the incident which claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.

The rally, held on North Genesee Street as a snowstorm was winding down, was coordinated by the Lake/McHenry chapter of Organizing for Action, a grassroots group that supports the policies of President Barack Obama. Participants carried signs imprinted with the names of each Sandy Hook victim and chanted “We are Newtown. What will it take?” and “We are Newtown. We will not forget.”

“Today we are out here to remember the victims of this tragedy and all victims of gun violence,” said Sheila Olsen of Grayslake. “This is a national day of action by anti-violence groups across the country.”

State Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, one of several speakers at the rally, said he met last year with some parents of children murdered at Newtown. He cited recent incidents of school-related gun violence.

“When is it going to stop?” he asked. “When are people going to wake up and realize sensible gun control is needed. Today is a day to remember and it should be etched in our minds: What happened, what can happen and what we can do to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Waukegan Mayor Wayne Motley also spoke. He called Sandy Hook “a day that was the death of innocence.”

“Newtown was a tragedy that could have been prevented,” said Motley, a former police officer who noted that he supports gun rights, but with stronger controls and background checks.

“There is no reason for a child or anyone to fall victim to gun violence,” said Motley, who vowed to work to prevent gun-related deaths in Waukegan.

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