Determined to 'do something' about gun violence, Deija Ingram helped launch a march and demonstration that will take place in Whitehall on Saturday, Aug. 24

In the days and weeks following the early August mass shooting in Dayton, a simple rallying cry sprouted amid those who gathered to mourn the tragedy: “Do something!”

The words, which were shouted by an audience that nearly drowned out Gov. Mike DeWine as he spoke at a vigil the day after the spree, arose as a natural response to the way politicians have treated mass shootings in recent years, offering “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and affected families, but never following through with any sort of tangible gun reform.

For Canal Winchester-born, Reynoldsburg-raised Deija Ingram, 21, the “do something” cry cemented an urge that she’d felt since her 27-year-old cousin died due to gun violence eight years ago, and which only strengthened watching Columbus’ murder rate climb to record-breaking levels in 2017.

“We should have stricter laws on guns … instead of people having to come out and worry about being shot,” said Ingram, who helped initiate the Columbus Peace Rally, a public march and demonstration in favor of more stringent gun laws that will take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, at 3886 E. Main St. in Whitehall, near the Walmart parking lot entrance. “Things aren’t peaceful when you can’t go out or go to a store without having to look over your shoulder every five to 10 minutes to make sure nothing’s happening. … I don’t want to go to a Walmart and worry about having something happen to me. Something needs to be done about [gun violence]. It’s easier for people to go and purchase a gun than to go get a green card.”

Ingram said she hoped to draw a couple hundred people for the rally; Columbus comedian Ro tha Realest and musician Seviin will also appear at the event. But Ingram would be satisfied with any turnout, recognizing that even a small movement can grow into a force with time and persistence.

“My hope is other people will start doing this, not just here, but from around the world,” Ingram said. “I don’t want this to be a one-time event. I want it to expand to where you see these rallies everywhere. … But sometimes you have to start small, and if it does get big and the laws do change, that would be a great thing. And until then I just have to keep pushing forward and doing what I do. I just want it to be peaceful, to make peace at home.”