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Paul W. Gillespie was in the Gapital Gazette newsroom when the shooting took place. He has worked to keep his colleagues memories alive through a portrait series.Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette

In the year since her husband’s death by gunfire, Andrea Chamblee has spent copious amounts of time poring over the files, notes and e-mails left by journalist John McNamara.

Mr. McNamara was a veteran sports writer and one of five staff slain on June 28, 2018, when a gunman stormed the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md., also killing editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, community correspondent Wendi Winters, editorial-page editor Gerald Fischman and sales assistant Rebecca Smith.

Ms. Chamblee says Mr. McNamara was nearly finished with the book he was writing, after 13 years spent working on it, at the time of his death. So, in the months after the shooting, she filled in his outlines, tidied up his unfinished sentences, and sent the book to a publisher. The Capital of Basketball: A History of DC Area High School Hoops will be released in November.

“It’s the last promise I could keep to John, to get this book out,” Ms. Chamblee says.

“It’s a part of John that I have and, once it’s out, it’s going to feel like a balloon I’m letting go, to let everybody have a piece of it,” she added. “And I don’t think I want that, I want to keep it to myself. But I know that’s not what he wanted, so I’ll have to let it go.”

Since one of the deadliest days in history for American journalists, Ms. Chamblee and other survivors have worked tirelessly to keep the memories of their loved ones alive, to lobby for gun-law reforms and to rally around a free press.

In addition to publishing her husband’s book, Ms. Chamblee has used her time in the past 12 months to push for more effective legislation against gun violence through op-eds, speeches and social media. She’s taken on Maryland State Senator Bobby Zirkin, who she blames for single-handedly preventing the passage of otherwise widely supported legislation that would close the “long-gun loophole,” a gap in state legislation that allows private dealers to sell long guns, like rifles and shotguns, without performing a background check on the buyer.

“I want Maryland to continue to be a model state for gun-violence prevention, and I want the politicians who are stopping that to be accountable,” Ms. Chamblee says. “It’s a domestic-violence issue, it’s an issue for women, and black and brown people, and transgender people, it’s really the civil rights issue of our time in the United States.”

Other survivors of the shooting – including Ms. Winters’s daughter Summerleigh Winters Geimer – have joined Ms. Chamblee in pushing for more effective gun legislation in the past year. Ms. Geimer and her three siblings have also helped organize annual community gatherings their mother once hosted herself. They’ve held two widely attended blood drives in honour of Ms. Winters (a frequent blood donor and long-time volunteer with the American Red Cross) and they plan to hold more in the future.

“I started giving blood when I was 16. My mom was crazy about me giving blood,” Ms. Geimer says. “I think it’s amazing that people are willing to come out for something. We’re trying to make light of something awful and we’re doing good with it.”

Ms. Geimer and her siblings also recently established a foundation in their mother’s name, the proceeds of which they plan to put toward providing a stipend for a journalism student interning at the Capital Gazette. To Ms. Geimer, creating the Wendi Winters Memorial Foundation was not only a way to uphold her mother’s legacy, but to provide an outlet for members of their community grieving her loss.

“There were organizations wanting to donate and continue to raise funds through annual events and they wouldn’t really have an outlet to do so,” she explained. “People want to come out, they want to do something and feel like they’re helping their community. And we’re giving them this outlet.”

Paul Gillespie, a photojournalist who was in the newsroom when the shooting took place, has worked to keep his colleagues’ memories alive the best way he knows how: through photographs. Mr. Gillespie is currently curating a collection of images of the shooting’s survivors, titled Journalists Matter: Faces of the Capital Gazette.

He says the project began as a way to take his mind off of the incident in its aftermath – but has since turned into something greater. He hopes, with a bit of seed money raised through GoFundMe, to show the collection in galleries and eventually to turn it into a book.

“I’d like to take it some other places and talk about why journalists matter, and what happened, and keep the memory of those we lost alive,” Mr. Gillespie said.

The rest of the staff at the Capital Gazette have remained steadfast in reporting on events in the aftermath of their own trauma, and recently announced they would be expanding their coverage of gun crimes at large.

This work has been far from unrecognized in the year since the shooting. In November, the Newseum, a Washington museum dedicated to the news industry and a free press, opened an exhibit on the Capital Gazette. The following month, the Capital Gazette was named Time’s Person of the Year (among others, including assassinated Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi). In April, the newspaper won a special citation by the Pulitzer Prize board for “their courageous response to the largest killing of journalists in U.S. history in their newsroom.”

But to survivors, these honours elicit mixed emotions.

“I want to give them back. I want to throw them out. I want to exchange them for John, get him back,” Ms. Chamblee says. “But I know they are gifts from allies in my fight, and I know they’re given with love.”

To Ms. Geimer, the recognition, while comforting, is no substitute for effective gun legislation.

“I think when it first happened, those things felt good; it felt good to know that people cared,” Ms. Geimer said. “Now that we’re getting a little bit further away, we don’t want another folded flag or another plaque. We want to see lawmakers doing something.”

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