DES MOINES, Iowa — Eight days after a mass shooting targeting Black people in Buffalo, New York, Iowans united to honor the 10 victims and call for action.

Approximately 50 people gathered at the Iowa Statehouse for a “Stop The Hate” rally. The crowd listened to Des Moines community leaders’ thoughts about the deadly Buffalo shooting.

“Each one of us can stand up, each one of us can show love for one another,” said State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad of Des Moines. “Don’t love me because I am Black or because I am a statistic. Love me because it is the right thing to do.”

Speakers pleaded to an end to gun violence both in Iowa and across the country.

“Gun violence is an illness and so is racism. You combine them together and that is a very deadly cocktail, as we can see by the Buffalo shootings,” said Ivette Muhammad, the Chief Operating Officer at Creative Visions. “This is the beginning of the change that we desire to seek. We have to continue to speak against the illness of racism when we see it; when it rears its ugly head, we have to chop it off together.”