By Karen Kirk:
“VOTE THEM OUT” was the rallying cry of speakers and protesters as more than 100 people gathered outside of the NRA Headquarters in Fairfax Saturday in support of gun safety.
“This nation breathes the oxygen that is the promise of liberty and right now, our people are suffocating,” said speaker Micaela Lattimer, a 17-year-old Latina from Maryland. “We’re not free when gunshots pierce classrooms. We’re not free when people are criminalized just for being black or brown. We’re not free when gun violence in Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore and Detroit goes ignored,” said Lattimer, speaking in English and Spanish.
“We point cameras to schools whose windows are shattered but muffle the voices who cry black lives matter. When black activists protested police brutality they were met with full riot gear and teargas,” said Lattimer, who helped organize the rally.
“To my fellow young people, it is now our job to actively urge those around us to vote and to lobby legislators and question authority,” she said. “Eternal vigilance is necessary to protect our freedom.”
“To elected officials, we the people are calling on you to develop and carry out policy that prevents a firearm from getting into the cold grip of a domestic abuser, policy that prevents the phone call telling a family their child was gunned down at age 16, policy that protects black youths from the shackles of criminalization and policy that keeps hateful people from committing a massacre. Most of all, policy that promotes humanization and education.”
“If you wish to stay in office, we demand that you actively protect our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Lattimer said.
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