Arlington, VA

A local non-profit is dedicating a garden in Courthouse in honor of the victims and survivors of gun violence.

The Arlington chapter of Moms Demand Action (MDA) is dedicating the garden on Friday (June 7) from 7-8:30 p.m. The event will begin with a rally at Courthouse Plaza (2100 Clarendon Blvd) and then proceed to the garden, where a formal dedication will take place.

“We’re planting hope and creating something hopeful,” said Celia Slater, who handles communications for MDA. “We’re planting to honor the people we love who’ve been killed. We plant seeds for lasting change.”

Speaking at the dedication will be Del. Rip Sullivan (D-48th), MDA lead Beth Fine, and Arlington Board Chair Christian Dorsey, who will be reading a proclamation from the Board.

Also speaking will be Carmen Lodato, whose mother was shot and killed in 2014 in her Alexandria home.

The dedication is part of The Plant Hope initiative of the annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day/Wear Orange event, which takes place each June to honor the more than 100 people who are killed daily by gun violence.

“It’s awful what happened in Virginia Beach,” said Slater, referring to last Friday’s shooting spree, in which a gunman killed 12 people at a Virginia Beach municipal building. “Everybody should be able to live and work without being afraid of being shot at your desk.”

Members of the public donated the initial flowers for the garden, which include sunflowers and other pollinator-friendly blossoms. Come fall, MDA will plant more flowers, with the hope of transforming the plot into a butterfly garden, Slater said.

Children, students and other volunteers painted hundreds of rocks, which will be placed around the garden.

“With so many school lockdowns, we wanted to make sure that we can show families and children that there are positive forces at work to end gun violence,” Slater said.

Photos courtesy of Moms Demand Action

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