TOPEKA (KSNT) – Demonstrations are underway across the country following a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

One of these protests happened in Emporia where members of the community gathered at Kellogg Circle for a peaceful demonstration against gun violence. The organizers wanted to bring attention to the issue of gun violence and raise their voices along with many others around the U.S.

“One of my friends in Lenexa Kansas, which is my hometown, he was killed due to gun violence exactly three months ago” said Jackson Anderson, an ESU senior and protest organizer. “It was a tragedy for the community. We want something done. Here at emporia state university we really want action to be taken by our legislators.” 

The demonstration was organized by Jackson and one former student of Emporia State University, Khushi Ghanchi. Together in partnership with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, they aimed to accomplish two goals.

“A – raise awareness about this issue of gun violence, and advocate for gun safety,” Event Organizer Khushi Ghanchi said. “And B – pay respect for those who lost their lives, I mean they’re children.” 

The peaceful protest included a walk around Kellogg Circle, a vigil and guest speaker Democrat candidate Pastor Mic McGuire.

Following the protest ending, the organizers want those who attended to take home one key message – the importance of reaching out to their representative and pushing for change.

“Young people, with their politicians there’s often not discourse, and if we open up the discourse politicians usually are happy to meet in the middle and communicate with you and talk,” Anderson said.

Looking ahead, they’re going to continue pushing for students and younger voters to speak with their ballot. Additionally, they are encouraging those who were in attendance and those at home to look into donating blood to help victims in Texas.