DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN (WABC) -- It's an election year and those who have lost loved ones to gun violence are hoping to turn their pain into purpose.
To shed light on the problem, national officials have designated this week as National Gun Violence Survivors Week.
"Listen to us as survivors, you don't want to be in these shoes," said Pam Hight, who lost her son to gun violence.
For those who have lost loved ones to gun violence, the pain is always still fresh.
Some have become vocal advocates. Jackie Rowe Adams lost two sons. She founded Harlem Mothers Save.
"We started off with five mothers and now we have 50 plus mothers and fathers," Rowe-Adams said.
Oresa Napper Williams founded Not Another Child after losing her son.
"He never got the chance or the opportunity to live out his dream," Napper Williams said.
At a roundtable organized by Congressman Dan Goldman at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Wednesday, they spoke with sympathetic policymakers like councilmember Alexa Aviles, whose father was killed in front of her when she was five.
"And I kind of feel like I still want to cry I'm a 51-year-old woman," Aviles said.
The hope is to reach policymakers who may not be as sympathetic at the federal level.
"Extreme risk of protection orders make it so that we can prevent people having to go through what my family and I have gone through," said Andrea Murray, who lost her father to gun suicide.
"Even though New Yorkers overwhelmingly support gun safety legislation, there are lot of Republican members of Congress from New York and they can and need to hear from everyday New Yorkers who are sick and tired of hearing about two mass shootings every day," Goldman said.
Allison Glenn lost her brother to gun violence and hopes they're listening.
"The ways that these mothers today spoke confidently about their children and are using their pain as turn momentum to change is very inspiring," Glenn said.
So how to make real change? Advocates and elected leaders are urging New Yorkers to engage in congressional races, especially six in particular in New York, that could help determine the balance of power in the House next year.
Goldman says without Democrats in control, it's almost impossible to initiate a discussion or legislation about gun safety.