Mukilteo Lighthouse to shine in new way this Friday

Candlelight vigil service is for National Gun Violence Awareness Day
By Brandon Gustafson | Jun 05, 2019
Courtesy of: Erin Senge Members of Moms Demand Action with Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson at the Monday, June 3, Mukilteo City Council meeting. Gregerson gave a proclamation, recognizing June 7 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day in Mukilteo.

Whether it’s a mass shooting, suicide, or an accident, many people know someone personally who has died from gun violence, or know someone whose life was impacted by it.

Here in Mukilteo, Judy Wallace, a former teacher and the former owner of Sydney’s Bakery & Wine Bar, is a gun violence survivor.

Nearly eight years ago, Wallace’s husband, Paul, killed himself with a firearm he purchased that same day.

“I have said repeatedly, gun laws and mental health attributed to his death,” she said. “I don’t want any other families to go through what we did. I don’t want kids growing up without a dad.”

Since that day, the mother of two has unsurprisingly had multiple aspects of her life altered.

“It was really hard to teach and raise a family as a now-single mom,” she said. “I would go to work and I couldn’t breathe.”

Wallace is a member of the Mukilteo/Lynnwood chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group “fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.” The group started shortly after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Each year for National Gun Violence Awareness Day – June 7 – there are events nationwide to bring awareness to gun violence.

In Mukilteo, Wallace has helped organize a candlelight vigil event Friday evening at the Mukilteo Lighthouse.

“We have this monument, and we wanted to shine orange lights on it,” Wallace said, “but logistically it didn’t work, so I thought about my life, and I’d light luminaries for Christmas Eve and at vigils, so I suggested we go this route. It’s simple, and it’s a time to reflect.”

The event is part of the Wear Orange campaign, started in 2013.

Orange is the color Hadiya Pendleton’s friends wore in her honor after she was shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15 – just one week after performing in President Obama’s second inaugural parade in 2013.

According to Moms Demand Action, hundreds of Wear Orange events will take place across the country this weekend for Wear Orange Weekend.

Last year, members of the Mukilteo/Lynnwood Mom’s Demand Action group were at Mukilteo City Hall wearing their orange apparel. The group also raised an orange flag in front of City Hall as part of the campaign last year.

Wallace joined Moms Demand Action last year, shortly after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting where 17 people were shot and killed. She attended a community meeting put on by the Mukilteo Youth Advisory Committee last year, and ended up meeting Moms Demand Action. She soon joined in hopes of making some change.

“I wanted to make a difference, but I couldn’t do it,” she said of her life immediately after her husband’s death. “All these mass shootings, suicides, accidental gun deaths – there’s steps we can be taking.”

One of those steps Moms Demand Action, as well as Everytown for Gun Safety, is taking, is addressing Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) laws, and trying to get more states to implement them. ERPO laws allow families, household members, or law enforcement officers to temporarily remove a person’s access to firearms.

“There’s a lot of stuff we can’t do, but ERPO can save lives,” Wallace said. “I’ve met with the school district, the police department, and others about how important it is to teach about this.

“We can say what happened to me and my kids is a tragedy, but it could have been flagged earlier.”

Erin Senge is also a Moms Demand Action Mukilteo/Lynnwood member, and has lived in Mukilteo for about four years.

“I’d lived here for about a year when the (2016) Mukilteo shooting happened, and it was horrifying,” she said.

The shooter in that case, Kamiak grad Allen Ivanov, lived close to Senge, which she said made the situation all the more haunting.

“That was a really shocking turn of events,” she said. “To have the circle come closer to you and your family, it was really scary.”

Senge said she’d been following Moms Demand Action since it first started, but there wasn’t a local chapter to join. After the Parkland shooting last year, more people started to lend their voices for gun violence awareness, and Senge attended a meeting in Shoreline along with more than 300 people.

“We started our group through that. I volunteered straight away when the Mukilteo group started.”

Senge is excited to see Mukilteo’s key landmark as part of a large-scale, nationwide event.

“Part of Wear Orange is to light up landmarks across the country in orange,” Erin Senge, another member of Moms Demand Action’s Mukilteo/Lynnwood chapter, said. “This will be a beautiful way to light our landmark orange.”

Senge hopes it will be a good way for the community to come together.

“This is about amplifying the voices of survivors and victims of gun violence,” she said. “There are people in the community grieving who have been touched by gun violence, and we want to support and honor them.”

Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson created a proclamation she shared at the June 3 City Council meeting, recognizing June 7 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day in Mukilteo. She is expected to be at Friday’s event.

The Mukilteo Lighthouse Luminaria Vigil is 8 p.m. June 7 at the Mukilteo Lighthouse. To RSVP, visit act.everytown.org/event/wear-orange-2019/22929/signup.

Moms Demand Action will also host a Mukilteo beach cleanup event 10 a.m. Saturday.

To RSVP, visit act.everytown.org/event/wear-orange-2019/23452/signup.

 

 

 

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