NEW YORK CITY– A crowd of hundreds joined Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, on the Brooklyn Bridge this morning for the Third Annual Brooklyn Bridge March and Rally to End Gun Violence. The event brought together gun violence survivors, moms, law enforcement, community leaders and gun safety advocates from over 20 states to call for action to prevent the gun violence that kills 88 Americans – including eight children or teens – every day.
The march also marked the pinnacle of the 2015 Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Mother’s Day Week of Action, including the recently launched Be SMART campaign, which asks gun owners and non-gun owners alike to come together to reduce the number of unintentional shootings, suicides, and homicides that occur when an unsupervised child gets a hold of gun. According to the newly released #NotAnAccident index by Everytown and Moms Demand Action, in 2015, there have been at least 84 unintentional child shootings involving children, resulting in 25 deaths and 61 injuries, an average of one unintentional child shooting in America every 36 hours.
After crossing the bridge, accompanied by the Maracatu drumming band and vocal performers, the crowd gathered outside of City Hall, where speakers shared their personal experiences with gun violence. The speakers line-up, led by Natasha Christopher, New York City Moms Demand Action volunteer whose son Akeal was shot when he was 14 by gang members after a graduation party in Bushwick, NY in 2012, included Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America; Abbey Clements, a teacher at Sandy Hook School who survived the shooting on December 14, 2012; Christopher Underwood, the first Junior Ambassador to Moms Demand Action, and Natasha Christopher’s son and brother to Akeal; and Ashlyn Melton, whose 13-year-old son Noah was shot and killed by his 15-year-old friend at the friend’s home with an unsecured gun.
Other notable attendees included Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety; Megan Lewis, Executive Vice President of Everytown for Gun Safety; Lise Evans, Maria Cuomo Cole, Donna Karan, and the vocal students of Craig Derry.
“Just this week, here in New York City, we saw first-hand the negative consequences of our nation’s lax gun laws, and we offer our deepest sympathies to the family of Officer Brian Moore and his NYPD colleagues. A police officer here was, once again, killed with an illegal gun from Georgia,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “For Officer Moore, for Akeal, for the 88 Americans who are shot and killed every day, Moms all over the country are showing up to state houses testifying against bad bills that endanger our families and communities, and supporting good bills that will protect them. And with the launch of the Be SMART campaign, moms are helping to spread the word about responsible gun storage and the importance of gun safety. Moms really are the grassroots power behind spreading the gun sense message—we are the most organized and passionate counterweight the gun lobby has ever seen.”