Diane Tipling marched among students, parents, military veterans and others in Oklahoma City uniting for change.
Now, Tipling and some of her fellow Stillwater residents are organizing a group in their hometown to advocate for that same cause; striving to end gun violence.
Community members will meet at 1 p.m. on June 9 to share ideas about establishing a Stillwater Moms Demand Action chapter. It will take place at Salem Lutheran Church but isn’t a church-sponsored event, Tipling explained.
“This is just a way to bring brains together and be aware of the issues and try to push for change where we can,” Tipling said.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a national group Shannon Watts created in 2012 after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to the group’s website.
“Moms Demand Action supports the 2nd Amendment, but we believe common-sense solutions can help decrease the escalating epidemic of gun violence that kills too many of our children and loved ones every day,” the website states.
Christine Jackson, a leader of a Tulsa Moms Demand Action chapter, contacted Tipling to organize a Stillwater group after learning about her efforts to oppose gun violence, such as attending the March for Our Lives rally.
"They've gotten my name because I am concerned about issues of gun violence and think that there are some more common-sense type things we can do to try to hopefully stop not only school shootings but other unnecessary deaths of innocent people and injuries,” Tipling said.
Tipling said at March for Our Lives in Oklahoma City, it was encouraging to see a varied group of people come together. It also disappointed her because few senators and representatives were present, she said. Tipling contacted her legislators, urging them to take steps in opposition to gun violence.
Because Stillwater Moms Demand Action is in its beginning phase, there are no leaders for the group yet. Tipling said she is involved in only its formation for now.
Indivisible Stillwater, another group with which Tipling is involved, will hold an event against gun violence three days before the Stillwater Moms Demand Action meeting.
Debunking Alternative Facts About Gun Violence will take place at 6 p.m. June 6 in Nikki’s Greek Restaurant. It will feature Devin Hughes, president of GVPedia, an information resource committed to gun violence prevention.
"Devin is nationally known for doing research documenting information regarding gun violence," said Cindy Alexander, co-leader of Indivisible Stillwater. "We're really excited to have him coming to Stillwater."
People in other communities across the state are also advocating for change.
This weekend, some Oklahoma residents will sport orange shirts for a reason other than Oklahoma State University spirit.
June 1 is National Gun Violence Awareness Day and the beginning of #WearOrangeWeekend, advocating gun violence prevention. Tipling said events will take place in Oklahoma City and Tulsa to observe the weekend.
Tipling has two daughters who attend Stillwater High School. She said she will continue to care about kids and advocate for gun violence prevention in schools and other places after her children graduate.
“This is not a come and take everybody’s gun, all-out thing,” Tipling said. “This is like, ‘Let’s come, and let’s try to be open and think of ways that we can help. Let’s work to solve the problem.’”