Things That Matter

Thousands Took To The Streets In Washington And Across The Country To Join The March For Our Lives Revolution

March for our Lives / Facebook

Welcome to the revolution.”

With those four words, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky began the historic March For Our Lives rally in Washington. It’s estimated that at least half a million people gathered in D.C. today with more than 800 related marches happening throughout the country. According to organizers, every state in the America, and every continent except for Antarctica hosted a march in support of gun reform. 

“Look around you,” Kasky said. “We are the change.”

The streets of Washington were filled with young people demonstrating their desire for gun reform.

CREDIT: Facebook/March for our Lives

The protest in Washing — which Parkland students began to plan on the very day they lost 17 of their classmates — has become an undeniable movement who’s message for gun reform will not dim until they see effective change.

The students have been organizing, fundraising, and productively using social media as a tool for a call to action, which has inspired countless to join the fight for gun reform along with them.

Edna Chavez, a 17-year-old from south Los Angeles, was one of the 20 speakers at the rally in Washington.

Here is Chavez’s powerful speech that you will likely see spreading everywhere.

The senior from Manual Arts High School spoke loudly and proudly of her family, her heritage and her hometown. She spoke about her involvement with the Community Coalition organization who has shaped her to be an activist of gun reform after her older brother, Ricardo, died as a result to gun violence.

“That’s why I got involved,” Chavez told the crowd. “I wanted to impact policies and make sure our voices are heard.”

“I am a youth leader,” she added. “I am a survivor.”

Through tears, Chavez went on to speak about her the trauma and the anxiety she has experienced in the aftermath of her brother’s death, which has impacted her entire family.

“You see the melanin on your brother’s skin turn grey,” Chavez said when speaking about her brother’s death.

On the eve of the protest, David Hogg — one of the most vocal leaders from Marjory Stoneman — was asked by Axios what success looked like for him and his classmates. To that complex question, Hogg said: “Simply, a lot of Americans coming out and becoming politically active. This is the start of our marathon.”

People marched and chanted for gun reform.

Just as the Women’s March motivated thousands to attend their inaugural gathering in Washington, the Parkland students have done the same but in a very short amount of time. They garnered support from the Obamas, George Clooney, Oprah, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West (who attended the Washington event) and many more celebrities who all contributed to their fund. As of today, March For Our Lives has generated $3.4 million dollars.

Today’s rally also included musical performances by Ariana Grande, Common, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, and Vic Mensa.

Demi Lovato performed “Skyscraper” between speakers to show her support of the young people seeking change.

Lovato was one of the first celebrities to reach out to Parkland students and lend her support.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt also performed their new mashup single “Found/Tonight.”

Because the march was so detailed in its planning — which included an app that provided information on the event — the city said they’ve been preparing for this for weeks.

“As the young men and women from Parkland, Florida, have been preparing for Saturday’s event, the District has been preparing to keep them safe here in Washington,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said to The Washington Post.

The crowd represented the intersectionality of all the communities impacted by gun violence.

The New York Times reports that counter-protests in support of gun rights would also be taking place in Salt Lake City, Greenville, South Carolina and Helena, Montana.

Emma González used her voice to keep people motivated in the demonstration that last hours in the nation’s capitol.

Undeniably, Emma Gonzalez has become the face and voice of the movement for gun law reform. She has been the outspoken victim of Parkland who is fighting the loudest.

In an essay in Teen Vogue, the 18-year-old high school senior was very direct about their demands.

“We need to digitize gun-sales records, mandate universal background checks, close gun-show loopholes and straw-man purchases, ban high-capacity magazines, and push for a comprehensive assault weapons ban with an extensive buyback system,” Gonzalez writes.

Organizers want the march to increase voter registration among the younger attendees. Protesters, many of which attended the National Walk Out Day on March 14, have threatened GOP lawmakers that if they don’t make changes to the country’s gun laws they will “vote them out.”

The crowd was not shy about calling for people to make it to the polls in November.

“I want an incredibly large voter registration turnout,” González told MSNBC. “I want people who don’t understand what we’re feeling to come away from this thinking, ‘I might understand this.'”

The march in Washington was accompanied by hundreds of sister marches across the world on 6 continents.

Here’s some scenes of today’s historic March For Our Lives throughout the country and worldwide.

CREDIT: Twitter/@FoxNews

Houston

ABC13 reports that thousands attended the rally at Tranquility Park near City Hall.

Miami

CREDIT: Twitter/Victor Oquendo

Hundreds of thousands attended various rallies held in Miami and in South Florida, according to CBS Miami.

Nashville

An estimated, 10,000 people descended in downtown Nashville and marched to the Davidson County Courthouse, WSMV reports.

Raleigh, NC

Los Angeles

It’s being projected that 60,000 people will take to the streets of Los Angeles demanding gun control.

Chicago

Thousands gathered in Union Park in downtown Chicago.

San Francisco

Hundreds of thousands gathered in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area.

New York City

Hundreds of thousands marched through the streets of New York City, which included many famous faces.

“One of my best friends was killed by gun violence right around here, so it’s important to me not just to march today but to take action tomorrow and to have these people to have their voices heard,” Paul McCartney said on CNN.

People are taking to social media to express why they want gun reform.

Many want gun reform so they can live without fear of being killed.

And teachers don’t want to live in constant fear with their students.

Did you march today? If so, share your videos and pictures on social media with #Latinos4GunReform.


READ: Here’s How High School Students Across The Country Used Their Voices To Demonstrate For Gun Control

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An LA Shooting Claimed The Lives Of Two Men, A Latino Ph.D Scholar Who Dreamed Of Working For NASA And A Father-To-Be

Things That Matter

An LA Shooting Claimed The Lives Of Two Men, A Latino Ph.D Scholar Who Dreamed Of Working For NASA And A Father-To-Be

José Flores Velázquez / Facebook

In cities across the US, people continue to die due to senseless gun violence. Los Angeles is no stranger to shootouts and, unfortunately, three more people fell victim to gun fire on Wednesday – leaving two of them dead and their friends and family in mourning. 

The shooting spree took place in South Los Angeles and one of the victims has been identified as a talented scholar full of big dreams. 

Gun violence has struck again in Los Angeles, killing two and injuring a third.

Two men were killed and another injured  in a drive-by shooting into a vehicle in South LA.

When police arrived at the scene, they found two men with multiple gunshot wounds. One of the men was pronounced dead at the scene. The second was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. A third man, suffering from a single gunshot wound, was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released.

Investigators said the two deceased victims were standing outside of a parked car when the suspect’s vehicle drove up and a passenger opened fire, striking both men. The suspect shot the third victim a short distance away as the suspects fled the scene. 

Police are still investigating the motive for the shooting.

One of the victims was Jose Flores Velazquez who was working towards his doctorate at UC Irvine.

Distraught family members who arrived at the scene told KTLA the man who died there was Jose Flores. He and the second man killed, Alfredo Carrera, grew up together six houses apart on the street where they were shot.

Carrera, meanwhile, was about to become a first-time father with his girlfriend, his aunt Michelle Garcia said.

The baby shower was set for Saturday, Garcia added.

Family said Carrera had been shot at least once in his back.

Investigators have yet to release information on the suspects and declined to release a description of the vehicle involved. The relatives say they have no idea who would want to target the men.

Police say the men were victims of a drive by shooting.

A 911 caller told officials a vehicle drove up and the passenger pulled out a handgun. An argument ensued, then shots rang out, said Lt. Derrick Alfred.

It appears that they had driven up and were saying goodbye outside the car to each other when the car drove up (and) some words were exchanged,” Rubenstein said. “Somebody from inside the suspect vehicle fired multiple rounds, striking both the men.”

Velazquez was a nationally recognized scholar who eventually wanted to work for NASA.

Flores was a physics doctoral student at UC Irvine and had his sights set on a job at NASA, a family member told KTLA.

“He was one of the most hardworking people I’ve ever met,” said a former sister-in-law at the scene who asked not to be named.

Many took to social media to share their shock and died about the loss of such an accomplished young man who was full of dreams.

While fellow grad students shared in their disbelief.

People who knew Velazquez have been sharing memories and talking about what a kind and caring person he was. They also talk about his many talents, skills, and dreams – of which, he had many.

If you’d like to support Velazquez’ family during this time, they have a GoFundMe page setup here

Here’s How Julián Castro Is Going To Take On The Gun Violence Health Crisis And The Deadly Rise Of Unchecked White Supremacy

Things That Matter

Here’s How Julián Castro Is Going To Take On The Gun Violence Health Crisis And The Deadly Rise Of Unchecked White Supremacy

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro has unveiled a plan to combat white supremacy and gun violence as the country grapples with recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. His policy proposal, called “People First Plan to Disarm Hate”, was released last Friday, Castro says it will try to “disarm hate” and would take on “white supremacist terrorism” by combating it with a “coordinated federal response.” The former U.S. housing secretary and San Antonio mayor says he would also sign executive orders on his first day in office “to end the gun violence epidemic.”

“Now is our moment to decide what kind of country we want to be,” Castro’s seven-page plan says. “We can be paralyzed by fear of extremism and cower before the corporate gun lobby, or we can combat white supremacist terrorism directly and end the gun violence epidemic that has plagued our nation for too long.”

JuliánCastro has been one of the vocal advocates for stronger gun control since the terrible mass shootings over a week ago. The gunman of the El Paso shooting confessed that he was looking to kill “Mexicans,” a point that Castro has referred to when discussing his policy.

Credit: @tusk81 / Twitter

Being the sole Latino candidate in the 2020 presidential race, Castro has voiced and echoed much of what the Latino community in El Paso and around the country have said about the recent shootings. Whether it’s been the heightened fear of a future attack or the call for stricter gun laws, Castro wants to address and calm the worries of the Latino community. 

“As a candidate for president, this issue is not only political, it’s personal. My wife Erica, an educator, and I are raising a daughter and son who both have brown skin. We worry for them and their friends,” Castro said. “They should be able to grow up free from fear of hate and safe from gun violence. Their safety is our foremost responsibility.”

The 2020 contender has also proposed an initiative to renew a permanent assault weapons ban and require gun users to have a license in order to purchase such firearms. His plan will also seek to establish education opportunities to “bridge racial and cultural divides” in this country.

“We can prevent it by making sure that these weapons of war are not on the street. We can also ensure that we have better tools to investigate something once it happens. I think when we’re talking about changing the hearts and the minds of people that are headed down the road of white nationalism, that means that we have to be better about ensuring that people are exposed to different ideas and different types of people in our country.”

Among other details in his proposed plan, Castro says his initiative would get at least $100 million in federal funds every year to coordinate anti-hate programs across five federal departments.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Castro joins a handful of Democratic presidential candidates that have unveiled plans to combat white supremacy and gun violence in the wake of the recent mass shootings. But his plan is going to in a slightly different route compared to other candidates as Castro wants to attack the root of the problem: hate. 

“My plan to disarm hate starts with comprehensively identifying the threat of white supremacist terrorism and combatting it directly with a coordinated federal response,” Castro said.” We’ll also invest in programs to fight radicalization and educational opportunities to bridge racial and cultural divides and lead a global coalition to defeat this rising tide of white nationalism.

Castro says combating white supremacy would entail convening a yearly summit for the cause hosted by the president and require state, local and tribal governments reporting hate crime statistics. He is also looking to sign an order directing the FBI to deny gun purchases to an individual with a pending arrest warrant, which would be a rebuke of a change in rules by President Trump.

There has been growing support for Castro in recent weeks due to strong performances at the Democratic Debates. This latest policy proposal has already won over some people. 

Credit: @josecanyousee / Twitter

Growing support has already been seen with this latest policy reveal and people on Twitter are taking notice of Castro. He has already previously rolled out proposals on important issues including immigration, education, housing, and police reform.

“Folks need to keep @JulianCastro on their radar! I’m invested in those who are willing to speak up, take action where it’s most needed—push against & undo white supremacy ideology, foundation of systemic oppression in US.” one user said on Twitter.

The gun reform plan is Castro’s latest policy rollout and his latest attempt to separate himself in a crowded field of candidates where he’s gained media momentum. But as of now, Castro is still polling around 1 percent and will need to gain more support if he is to continue his campaign.

READ: Julián Castro: The One Presidential Candidate Taking A Strong Stand For Migrants At The Border

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