Around 100 people gathered in the heart of Lancaster midday Thursday in a call for action against gun violence.

Area clergy hosted the rally and took turns sharing liturgy, leading prayers and admonishing those gathered to take a stand — not just in response to the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, but widespread gun violence.

“We do not have to accept that mass shootings are the norm,” said the Rev. Jennifer E. Mattson of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Manheim Township.

“We ought to be fed up,” said the Rev. Andrea Brown of Grandview United Methodist Church, also in Manheim Township. “It is the guns, and we have to address it.”

In his address, the Rev. Gerald Simmons of Faith Tabernacle in Lancaster asked the crowd to repeat after him, “It’s the guns, stupid.”

Other speakers, including the Rev. Pat McAllister of Mount Zion AME in Columbia asked the crowd to take a stand against racism.

Racism breeds hatred, she said, going on to say that black men are an “endangered species in America” and treated unequally by police.

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Anna Gail Fenn, 11, speaks during a faith-based, call-to-action rally over gun violence in Penn Square on Thursday, August 8, 2019.

“Why wouldn’t a person decide to do a mass killing?” she said, going on to say white men get away with actions being characterized as from a mental illness.

The youngest speaker was Mattson’s 11-year-old daughter Anna Gail Fenn, who spoke of being afraid during an active shooter drill at her school.

“Why would someone shoot someone of a different race? Why would someone shoot someone at all?”she asked.

Rabbi Jack Paskoff of Lancaster’s Congregation Shaarai Shomayim prayed that God would open people’s eyes to see the color: the red of blood from those killed and the color of skin being targeted. Investigators have said the El Paso shooter wrote a screed targeting Hispanics.

The crowd heard from Jeff Dempsey, a representative for CeaseFirePA. The organization lobbies for stronger firearm legislation in Pennsylvania.

“We are losing too many people to gun violence,” Dempsey said, adding that “sensible legislation” should be enacted.

Dempsey didn’t mention specific Pennsylvania legislation but referenced universal background checks and red flag laws.

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William Washington and his uncle JJ Underwood attend a faith-based, call-to-action rally over gun violence in Penn Square on Thursday, August 8, 2019.

After the rally, JJ Underwood, of Lancaster, held a cardboard sign in protest of gun violence.

“Politicians have to come together and work together to stop the violence,” said Underwood, 66.

Marion Traught, 88, brought three generations of family to the rally: her daughter Donna Frankhouser, 66, grandson David Patterson, 38, and great-granddaughter Jordis Patterson, 13. All live in Lancaster County.

David Patterson said he appreciated clergy calling out other churches to take action, too.

“We've been silent for too long,” Traught said.