Jennifer Hudson, who lost her mother, brother and nephew to gun violence, opened the doors of the church today ... and there were many who came through them pic.twitter.com/paGJZyehwc— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) March 24, 2018
"We all came for change today, right?" Hudson asked the massive crowd in attendance. "We've all lost somebody. And I'm sure, a long time ago, you never thought you would be standing here today. But we're all here for a reason. We've all got a story, we've all got a purpose. And we all want what? We want change."
Hudson's rendition of the Bob Dylan classic came moments after Parkland Shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez stood in silence onstage for six minutes and 20 seconds, representing the length of time of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 where 14 students and three teachers were killed.
Hudson is, unfortunately, no stranger to gun violence. On October 24, 2008, Hudson's mother Darnell Donnerson (57) and brother Jason (29) were shot and killed inside the Chicago home they shared with Hudson's sister Julia. Three days later the FBI found the body her missing nephew, 7-year-old Julian, with multiple gunshot wounds on Chicago's West Side. Julia's estranged husband William Balfour was arrested and later charged with seven crimes, including three counts of first-degree murder.
Hudson spoke out as a proponent of gun control in a 2015 interview with W magazine.
"It's not just the city of Chicago," Hudson said. "It's everywhere. It's a bad time right now, no matter where we look. Kids can't go to school, people can't go to church, you can't go to the movies. It's like, what are we doing to ourselves? What's happening? We're acting like animals."
"Those who don't get it, it's like, how don't you get it when this is what the issue is? And if you do have a problem with it, have a solution to come along with it," Hudson continued. "What plan do you have? How do you not try? And what are we supposed to do — just kill each other? It's a scary time no matter who you are, where you go, what color you are, where you live, honey."
Other celebrities in attendance for the rally include Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and The Beatles' Paul McCartney.