29 Oct Antioch, Concord Mothers Launch Local Moms Demand Action Group
By Aly Brown
Bay City News
Two Contra Costa County mothers are calling for an end to gun violence and recently launched a group to mobilize the community.
As part of a national organization, Moms Demand Action, Antioch resident Dominique King and Concord resident Alex Navarro established an Antioch group within the California chapter — an effort six years in the making.
The Antioch group’s first meeting took place on Oct. 19, and the next will occur on Nov. 19 at 3:30 p.m., with location details pending. To join, text “READY” to 644-33.
The East County group’s formation is especially timely following the shooting of 16-year-old Ke’Marion Tucker, a Brentwood resident and Liberty High School student who was killed at a house party in Oakley last Saturday.
His death follows that of Nadia Tirado, an 18-year-old who was killed in a mass shooting at a party in Antioch a few months earlier. These homicides add to the 158 gun-related deaths in East County’s Bay Point, Pittsburg, Antioch, Oakley, Brentwood and Discovery Bay communities between the years of 2014 and 2022, according to data from thetrace.org, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom exclusively covering gun violence. Data for 2023 was not yet available.
“I do know that we need something to change, and we need something that will activate us, and we need people who are willing to be honest about what’s happening here,” said King, who shared that she is a gun violence survivor. She pointed out that 84 of those 158 East County deaths took place in Antioch.
As a proud gun owner herself and the wife of a police officer, King emphasized that Moms Demand Action is a nonpartisan group dedicated to gun safety education and stronger gun laws to create safer environments; it’s not about taking guns away.
“I respect the Second Amendment. But I also have a duty to respect life, and I just tell people to keep that at the forefront when we’re talking about this issue,” King said.
Navarro, who serves as the statewide lead for Moms Demand Action, said she got involved with the organization after becoming a mother and moving back to America from The Netherlands, where gun violence is essentially nonexistent.
“My kids were traumatized by intruder drills,” Navarro shared. “When we first moved to the States, my 4-year-old daughter at the time had just experienced her first intruder drill, and she was explaining to me that they turn off all the lights, the students all go in a corner, and then there are people on the outside banging on the windows and the doors to simulate an intruder. And a lot of her classmates started crying.”
Navarro’s daughter then asked what picture she would use to remember her.
“It was just so heartbreaking to me, because here she was, 4 years old, thinking about her own death, and worried about how I would respond to that and how I would remember her,” Navarro said.
She went on to say the drills are often taught to those who go on to become the shooters themselves, so they already know the school’s internal procedures when stepping on campus.
“What we need to do is prevent this from happening in the first place,” Navarro added.
In her role, she works to develop relationships with other organizations doing on-the-ground work to break the cycle of violence.
At a local level, King said the emphasis is on gun safety education and normalizing these conversations, especially on the topic of mental health.
“Within our community, we have a large Hispanic and African American population, and the numbers for suicide in those demographics are on the rise,” she said.
King shared that plans are underway for an art display by the Soul Box Project in the Antioch Library to honor the lives that have been lost due to gun violence. To learn more about Soul Box, a project to raise awareness on the topic of U.S. gun violence through art, visit https://soulboxproject.org.
The two called the recent passing of Assembly Bill 28 “a huge win.” Also known as the School Safety Act, the bill will tax bullet sales, generating an estimated $160 million every year to fund organizations providing gun violence prevention and intervention programs.
Navarro hoped to see similar legislative traction at the federal level.
“Thoughts and prayers just aren’t doing it,” she said. “They’re nice, but we’re still dying. And so it’s not enough.”
In the wake of Ke’Marion’s death, Liberty Union High School District Superintendent Eric Volta said all three schools in the district have provided places for students to address their emotions on campus with professional support from faculty and outside agencies. A letter sent home Sunday to families of Liberty High School read:
“We know that a traumatic event like this can send shockwaves through a community. To help during this trying time, we have set up our library as a place for students and staff who need support to come and talk with counseling staff. The Liberty High Administration Team is sending our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families.”
Copyright © 2023 Bay City News, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication, rebroadcast or redistribution without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited. Bay City News is a 24/7 news service covering the greater Bay Area.