Last Saturday – as I stood on stage at the Women’s March on Washington embracing my sisters of the Mothers of the Movement and Grammy-winning artist Janelle Monáe – I heard thousands of voices calling my son’s name: Jordan Davis.
Jordan was my pride and joy – my miracle baby.
More than four years ago, at the age of 17, Jordan was senselessly shot and killed in a dispute over loud music at a Jacksonville, Florida, gas station. My life changed forever that day. But since then, I’ve found a new purpose working with gun violence prevention advocates and fighting against a dangerous gun culture in America that tears families and communities apart at alarming rates.
Over the last four years, I have found a new sense of hope in the sound of rising voices from across America. Hope that reminds me of the stories of my parents and my years as a child marching alongside them for civil rights. As the daughter of a civil rights leader, I believe in the power that compels people to stand up for their freedoms, for justice and opportunity. I know that marching inspires people to take an active role in creating positive change for a better America.
And who better than women to spark momentum in what has become the new civil rights movement of our day? Women have always been on the front lines of activism and cultural change for social justice issues – and we always will be.
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Two weeks ago, in wave after wave, I witnessed a sea of women from every corner and culture of America marching with power and conviction in opposition to misogyny, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, religious intolerance and the anti- immigrant sentiment that bolstered the last election.
What a beautiful sight to behold.
Nonetheless, we cannot stop with one day or one march. Now that we have packed our bags, said our goodbyes and returned home, we MUST continue to fight!
In the aftermath of the march, I implore us all to be about the business of finding our passion in this movement and GET TO WORK! Do not become complacent, patting yourselves on the back for participation. Keep moving forward determined to strengthen your cause. Volunteer with a group that aligns with your passions. Visit your lawmakers and civic leaders. Make phone calls to your legislative offices. Leave no stone unturned.
Over the years, I have become passionate about working to prevent senseless gun violence that disproportionately affects women and people of color. Given my role with Everytown For Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, I fight for the safety of our communities daily. This week, I testified before the Florida State Legislature opposing a dangerous Stand Your Ground bill.
At Everytown and Moms Demand Action, we know how to fight to keep America safe from rampant gun violence. We are the Davids on the heels of the NRA Goliath. Right now, the NRA leadership that spent millions of dollars on Trump’s campaign feels emboldened to push its dangerous “guns everywhere” agenda more than ever. That’s why it is so important that there are millions of Americans pushing back against this deadly agenda that puts our families and communities at risk.
Gun violence is an issue that affects us all and therefore, everyone must be part of the solution. Our elected officials have families just like you and me. And no family wants to go through the pain of having a loved one taken by gun violence.
The Women’s March in Washington was about giving power to the collective voices of women everywhere to demand that our leaders put the interests, safety, and welfare of ALL Americans first.
As a child, my father taught me to never take my freedoms for granted. He challenged me to fight for what is right. He urged me to stand and fight to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I believe that by taking action together, we can create a safer future for our loved ones.
I hope you’ll join me.