When talking to a colleague at her job in December 2012, Marie G. Delus expressed outrage at the senseless killing of 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook School. That’s when her colleague shared with her a Facebook post his wife had seen from Shannon Watts. Marie resonated with Shannon’s message of outrage, and immediately joined the group to connect with others in New York with a shared passion for ending gun violence.
“I was nervous walking into my first Moms Demand Action event. I didn’t know anyone. It so happens I was the first Black Mom at the event,” Marie, now a Survivor Lead and New York Moms Demand Action volunteer, recalled. “The event was great. I met amazing women who felt like sisters immediately. We all went on to work together and help make the movement to stop gun violence a powerful one.”
Now, nearly 10 years later, Marie considers herself an original Mom. She keeps advocating for gun violence prevention nearly a decade since joining to save lives. As a survivor of gun violence herself, she does not want others to feel the pain she has felt. She keeps going in memory of her nephew, Pierre-Paul Jean-Paul Jr, who was killed in 2008, and to support other survivors.
She has many fond memories from her years in the movement—from her first meeting to attending an event at the White House and hearing President Barack Obama speak. But the most meaningful connections she has made are with her fellow volunteers who she calls her “sisters and brothers” in the movement.
Moms Demand Action has made a significant impact in gun violence prevention advocacy since its founding. Marie believes that “history will remember us Moms, our legacies are being written.” The recent win in Congress with the passing of the first major gun safety law in nearly 26 years, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, shows the strength of the grassroots power of Moms Demand Action. While this is a huge victory for the movement, our work is not over—there’s still more to be done to save lives.
“Victory to me, after working tirelessly in this movement, is a good night’s sleep, a sigh of relief,” Marie expressed. “After the sleep, the sigh, we will continue to do the work, will move forward knowing another important obstacle has been overcome.”