Sharpton, Parkland Survivor Announce Anti-Gun Violence Rally - NECN
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Sharpton, Parkland Survivor Announce Anti-Gun Violence Rally

The June 2 rally — at the beginning of New York state's Gun Violence Awareness Month — is to start at Trump International Tower on Columbus Circle

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    Sharpton, School Survivor Announce Anti-Gun Violence Rally

    A survivor of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting joined the Rev. Al Sharpton on Saturday to announce a June rally in front of President Donald Trump's Manhattan apartment to protest gun violence eased by access to assault weapons.

    (Published Saturday, April 7, 2018)

    A survivor of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting joined the Rev. Al Sharpton on Saturday to announce a June rally in front of President Donald Trump's Manhattan apartment to protest gun violence.

    Aalayah Eastmond, a junior at Stoneman Douglas High School, was at Sharpton's National Action Network in Harlem for the minister's weekly meetings.

    Sixteen-year-old Eastmond was in class Feb. 14 when a gunman fired through a window, missing her but killing 17 classmates and school staff.

    The June 2 rally — at the beginning of New York state's Gun Violence Awareness Month — is to start at Trump International Tower on Columbus Circle and proceed toward Fifth Avenue and Trump Tower, where Trump has an apartment that has been his longtime home.

    For Eastmond, New York City is more than a prominent media staging ground. One of her family members was fatally shot there.

    Fifteen years ago, "I actually lost my uncle to gun violence in Brooklyn," she said. "So for it to happen to me, in my face, that just shows that change has to happen now."

    Sharpton said that young people leading recent activism across the country have produced what he called "a necessary marriage of dealing with gun violence as an American issue that jumps over the boundaries of any community and deals with America from every city."

    Another Sharpton concern is how police handle interactions with the mentally ill. On Thursday, police fatally shot a Brooklyn man, Saheed Vassell, as he brandished what turned out to be a welding torch mistaken for a gun.

    Among the June rally organizers is Ramon Contreras, 19, a senior at one of 11 NYC College Prep charter schools who lost a classmate to gun violence last October.

    "He was only 17 years old," Contreras said. "The way it affected me, I was lost."

    He said everybody wanted to do something, but felt "we didn't have the resources."

    Last month, "the nationwide walkout gave us the courage, and pretty much the strength to say, 'Hey, enough is enough.'"

    Al Sharpton runs the National Action Network and is a talk-show host on MSNBC, which is owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of this site.