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Grandparents To Protest For Gun Reform At Sun City Center

After the deadly school shooting in Parkland, teenage voices rang through the television sets, radios and newspapers of senior citizens in Sun City Center.

On Saturday, some of those seniors are holding a rally to show their support.

“These are our grandkids, and I want them to know that we, as seniors and as grandparents, support what they're doing," said Judy Kramer, as she sifted through about 40 homemade picket signs in her kitchen.

She’s 76 and lives in the age-restricted community with her husband Oscar. He’s 79. They and other six other seniors have reached out to local organizations and churches to help call attention to the rally.

They’ve called themselves Seniors Supporting Students on Gun Control.

“We’re hoping to draw not only the seniors who live in Sun City Center, but we’d like to see some of the young people who have been demonstrating in the area around here,” Oscar said. “They’re so eloquent in their comments about what they want to see done to stop this gun violence.”

Credit Tim Fanning / WUSF Public Media
WUSF Public Media
Judy Kramer, 76, and her husband Oscar, 79, began working on picket signs this week along with six other members of their group. On Saturday, they will show support for the young protesters they've seen on television.

Oscar sat at the dining room table, surrounded by photos of their three grown children and five grandkids on the walls. He was moved to action after listening to Zoe, his 6-year-old granddaughter, describe how she felt after an active shooter drill at her school.

“She was crammed under her teacher’s desk, hiding from the potential shooter,” Oscar said. "She was terrified, and that is not something kids should have to face.”

Zoe and her sister Jayden, 9, will also be demonstrating.

Judy said the group's efforts have been met with mostly positive reactions.

“It can be a controversial issue, and we are aware of that,” Judy said. “We recognize the possibility that there might be counter-protesters, because some feel differently than we do.”

Credit Tim Fanning / WUSF Public Media
WUSF Public Media
A copy of Judy Kramer's speech she will be reading at Saturday's rally. She writes: "Watching and hearing your eloquence has inspired all of us who are older than you, but can still learn from you."

Judy hopes the rally will do one more thing: Help inspire more young people to vote.

"Arm themselves with a vote. A vote can be as powerful as a bullet,” she said. “They have a weapon — and it’s their registration and their voting.”

The rally will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of Kings Boulevard and Route 674. 

Tim Fanning is a WUSF Public Media Stephen Noble intern for spring 2018.
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