Updated at 6:45 pm
A rally took place at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven Friday to honor the people shot to death at a Texas high school this morning, said Keith Chatinover, a student activist who organized two busloads of students to go to Washington, D.C., for the March for Our Lives. Ten people are dead and others wounded after a gunman opened fire at the school in Santa Fe, Texas.
Maria Black, who organized the International Women’s Day rally at the intersection, spearheaded the event after she heard news of the shooting.
“It feels like just a few weeks ago we were on the bus heading to D.C.,” Black, who went with Islanders on the bus trip for the March for Our Lives in March, said. “Now it happened again, and I felt like we needed to respond immediately, because as time goes by, this issue gets put on the back burner, and then another incident happens.”
Mary McManama of Oak Bluffs joined the rally with her dog Ruby, and greeted the group with, “Here we are again …”
Chatinover, a Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School senior who just won the High School Activist of the Year Award and helped organize the rally, echoed Black and McManama’s comments. “We’ve gotten so used to it.” Keith said. “It’s desensitizing and demoralizing. The cycle is going to happen again: ‘gun control, lots of prayers’ then [a shooting] happens again … that’s how it always works.”
The rally drew only about a dozen Island activists to Five Corners, but heavy traffic at the intersection brought with it supportive honks and waves, as well as some glares and finger-wagging.
“To keep this movement — that started with those kids at Parkland — going we have to respond quickly and show that people still care about this, and that people are still really ticked off about it, about the fact that nothing is being done,” Black said. “[We just want] common-sense steps to help keep guns from getting into the wrong hands. That’s all. And everyone takes that and turns it upside down. And we end up in the same situation over and over again.”