Candles glowed outside the federal court house Wednesday evening as close to 40 people gathered to give Sen. Dan Coats what they termed a wake-up call.
The Fort Wayne chapter of Organizing for Action put together the candlelight vigil at 1300 S. Harrison St. in remembrance of local gun violence victims and in support of closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands.
Amanda Henry, one of the organizers for the Fort Wayne chapter, said Hoosiers want to know why Coats didn't vote for the expanded background checks legislation this spring when 89 percent of Hoosiers favored it. Henry said although their organization is Democratic in origin they are not pushing a partisan agenda, but instead are issue-driven.
Several speakers addressed the crowd including the Rev. Saharra Bledsoe, NAACP president, and Jonathan Ray, executive director of the For Wayne Urban League.
Ray said there is a need to change the opportunities for the urban underclass, and there is a need for open dialogue about gun control.
“If we want to make a difference it will take all of us to make a change,” Ray told the crowd.
A list of all the people who have died from gun violence in Allen County this year was read.
Another event if planned for Aug. 31 at Hannah and Lewis streets.