NEW YORK (PIX11) — For Nathalie Arzu, gun violence prevention is personal. 

“People will forget him, but I know that I won’t,” she said. 

In 2011, her brother was killed a few blocks from home. He was shot 15 times. He had just turned 16 years old. Since then, she has been speaking out against gun violence. 

Arzu joined other advocates, volunteers, and protestors on Saturday for the same cause: to get illegal guns off the streets and to keep weapons away from the wrong people.

“We need to make sure that we use our voices to vote and to shout and to let everybody know that we are here. We advocate for gun violence prevention, and we are not going away until our children are safe,” said Sheffali Welch, with the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots organization behind the rally and march across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Friday marked Gun Violence Awareness Day, which kicked off hundreds of awareness events in all 50 states. Participants symbolically wear orange, the color that hunters wear in the field to avoid getting shot. Some say the gun violence problem is so widespread that it affects public health and everyone’s sense of safety. 

“People get scared just by hearing a gun off. People get scared. You can be sleeping in your bed at night and you can hear a gun on the street. You get scared,” said Sherrod Kenneth, who lost his brother to gun violence two years ago. 

The lineup of speakers and performers on Saturday was made up almost entirely of young people because that is the demographic most commonly impacted by guns. The group says change will come through legislation and compromise. 

“There are a lot of common areas of agreement on the issue of gun violence and it’s important that we come together and find those areas of commonality so that we can make progress,” said Kelley Hecht. 

Organizers believe protests have a big impact on legislation, including in New York State, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.