I say that before July 4, 2022, I was just a mom because that’s how I remember it. I remember slow summer days crawling by and kids jumping on the trampoline until the sun dipped into the horizon and the moon took its spot in the night sky.
I remember feeling safe.
That changed after I took my 6-year-old son to our hometown’s July 4th parade, where a gunman opened fire on children and families with an AR-15, killing seven people and injuring dozens.
We ended up in a crowd of chaos, running for our lives. As we ran, my arm pulled me down — my son had become so paralyzed by fear, he laid down and begged not to die.
We made it home safely, but we are forever changed. We are still healing and trying to cope with the trauma.
Last year I traveled to Washington, D.C., 10 times, to meet with lawmakers about passing a federal assault weapon ban. This year, I stood next our governor as he signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act into law, which banned assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and switches statewide.
I will keep fighting so no other kids have to run, like mine.