If you attend GAGV meetings regularly, you’ll recognize the faces of Ann Nelson and Mary Marnett because they attend virtually every one. Ann and Mary are friends and neighbors in Fairway, KS, who share a passion for ending gun violence. Ann is one of GAGV’s founding members; Mary joined three years ago at Ann’s invitation.
“When Mary moved into our apartment building, we became instant friends and realized we shared political and humanitarian beliefs,” Ann said. Today, the two friends consistently show up and speak out supporting GAGV’s efforts, attending vigils and rallies and sending postcards to legislators.
For years both have been committed to reducing the proliferation of guns. Mary’s commitment began after the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy at the hands of a gunman using a $19.95 mail-order rifle. Ann’s involvement began when she joined the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence after the March 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, which severely injured his press secretary, James Brady.
Ann is a runner and bicyclist who also plays piano and cello duets with friends. “It helps my peace of mind as do the efforts I make in GAGV,” Ann said. “I am passionate about going door-to -door to get out the vote to elect candidates that believe in ending gun violence.”As for Mary, who recently turned 90, today’s activism gives her a sense of coming full circle. “I protest, call my legislators, write postcards, attend rallies and I vote, trying to change the world,” she said. “I met my first husband while on a picket line, so I’m back where I started!”
The two friends also volunteer together once a month for the Yes We Can group at Harvesters food bank. “We work a lot and we laugh a lot,” Ann said. “I am lucky to have a buddy like Mary.”
And we’re lucky to have them as fellow GAGV members!