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Gun violence victims vigil combines prayer and action at Walker Square Park

"It's important for us to not normalize something like this."
violence vigil
Posted at 9:46 PM, May 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 23:14:25-04

MILWAUKEE — More than 30 organizations, including faith-based, educational, business, and service, came together on Friday night for a gun violence victims vigil at Walker Square Park.

The victims of the Uvalde school shooting were remembered, as well as other victims of gun violence so far this year.

Pardeep Kaleka's family knows the impacts of gun violence all too well. Ten years ago, gun violence struck his family when a gunman opened fire at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek.

"I went home that night and I had to give my mom the death notification that her husband had passed," Kaleka said. "When I saw the look in her face, I knew that our life was going to change forever."

Pardeep Kaleka

At Friday night's vigil, Kaleka found himself again mourning lives lost to gun violence.

"Each time that we get together, each time that we see something like this happen, it's important for us to not normalize something like this," Kaleka said.

The vigil was organized by the 80% Coalition, hoping to combine prayer and action.

It's name stems from a 2019 Marquette Law School Poll that found 80% of Wisconsin voters are in favor of getting ride of background check loopholes and 81% are in favor of red flag laws.

"This violence has impacted every community. Nobody is immune from it," said founding member of the 80% Coalition Darryl Morin.

candles at vigil

After prayers were heard from faith leaders of several different religions, the group called for lawmakers to act on gun violence prevention legislation.

Organizers of the vigil also shared information about how those in the community can get in touch and speak with their legislators about gun violence in their communities.

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