The Guardian May 31, 2000


US women rally for gun control

by Tim Wheeler

On Mother's Day 750,000 women rallied in Washington to demand enactment of 
"sensible gun control" laws. The protesters, many of them mothers holding 
portraits of their slain children, cheered as speakers called for ousting 
lawmakers tied to the National Rifle Association (NRA) who block gun 
control legislation.

Donna Dees-Thomases, Million Mom March initiator, said "Our votes are our 
power and we will use that in force in the November elections."

There was a sense of elation at the immense size and diversity of the 
crowd, Black, Latino, Asian, American Indian and white. For many, it was 
their first demonstration and there was a keen sense of the power of the 
people to stem gun violence, which claims 30,000 lives each year  
including 12 children each day.

Adrienne Young, an African-American woman from Pittsburgh, held up a 
poster-sized portrait of her son, Javon Thompson. "That's my son", she told 
the People's Weekly World.

"He was a scholarship student at Carnegie Mellon, an award-winning young 
artist. He was shot to death on December 29, 1994. He was 18.

"The NRA is a total disgrace", she said. "They value money more than human 
life. We need to stem the tide of guns coming into our community."

Patricia Anderson of Albuquerque, a Navajo Indian, told the crowd of the 
shooting of her son in 1992 at age 19. "Mothers, let's make our tears a 
raging river of votes to get legislators out of office if they do not 
support stricter gun controls."

Television talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, who served as mistress of 
ceremonies, told the crowd, "We are the voice of the majority of Americans 
and it is time we are heard."

Speaking with the US Capitol as a backdrop, O'Donnell said, "We have had 
enough of ... the stranglehold the NRA has in Congress and the Senate. The 
NRA is buying votes with blood money."

Dawn Anna's daughter, Lauren, died together with 11 other students and a 
teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, April 20, 1999. 
She told the crowd that "Big Business" puts gun manufacturers' profits 
above human life.

She referred to a videotape of an NRA official bragging that if George W 
Bush is elected president, the gun lobby will be working out of the Oval 
Office.

"We are going to work to insure that the NRA does not have an office in the 
White House come November", she said as the crowd erupted in cheers.

First Lady Hillary Clinton, a candidate for the US Senate from New York, 
said in a taped message: "We have had enough bloodshed, enough violence. 
When children are afraid to walk down their own blocks or walk to their own 
schools ... or even visit neighbours, it is time to say enough!"

Mieko Hattori had come to the rally from her home in Nagoya, Japan. She 
told the crowd that she is still grieving the death of her son Yoshi, shot 
to death by a gun-wielding homeowner in Baton Rouge, Louisiana., nearly 
eight years ago. The killer claimed he mistook the youth, an exchange 
student, for an intruder.

Through an interpreter she told the World, "In Japan, only 30 people 
die each year from handguns. I feel the great power of mothers here today.

"I want stronger gun laws. I can share the feelings of all these mothers 
here who have lost a child from gun violence."

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Peoples Weekly World

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