Ninety-six pairs of shoes were carefully lined up on the steps of St. Monica Church in Santa Monica last Sunday — each pair representing a person killed by gun violence every day in the United States. 

The interfaith gathering drew a crowd, as the community remembered the mass shooting at Santa Monica College in 2013, the recent shooting in Thousand Oaks, and the violence seen across the country every day. A bell rang in remembrance of all victims, and family members and loved ones shared stories and pictures of those they had lost. 

Tina Mathieu, an alumna of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the Parkland, Florida high school that was rocked by a mass shooting earlier this year, sang “One Step Closer,” an anthem she composed to express the heartache and the hope that exists in the #NeverAgain movement against gun violence. “Since the shooting at my former high school in February, I’ve made it my life’s mission to continue the fight for gun safety in our country.” 

Participating faith community members included Beth Shir Shalom, St. Augustine By-the-Sea, Unitarian Universalist of Santa Monica, St. Paul Lutheran Church and St. Monica Catholic Community. The Los Angeles Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence co-sponsored the event. 

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