(JTA) — Abbie Youkilis, the aunt of slain teenager Jaime Guttenberg, doesn’t want prayers. She wants action.
Jaime, 14, was one of the 17 students and faculty killed in the high school shooting Wednesday in Parkland, Florida. In an emotional Facebook post published Thursday, her aunt called guns a national disease and demanded change.
“Fred and Jen are the world’s most loving and over-protective parents but they could not protect Jaime from the sickness that has gripped our country,” she said of Jaime’s parents. “Unless we change, nobody can protect us. My friends and fellow citizens, your guns are not protecting you. Your guns are killing our kids.”
Youkilis wrote that her niece was a beautiful girl who looked out for others, and that she one day hoped to become an occupational therapist and have kids of her own.
“She was a pretty girl with the world’s best smile and her soul was sensitive and compassionate,” Youkilis wrote. “She was intelligent and feisty and she danced with beauty and grace. She always looked out for the underdog and the bullied and she probably had been kind to the student who shot her.” She blamed the National Rifle Association and pro-gun politicians for mass shootings. She said voters should demand gun control legislation and politicians who care about life more than gun rights.
“My family does not want your hopes and prayers,” she wrote. “We want your action. Join us in fighting the NRA. Join us in deposing any politician who cares more about campaign contributions than my beautiful Jaime. Join us in supporting leaders who will bravely fight for our children’s lives.”