By MICHELLE HOLLINGER
MIAMI – The three women have been impacted by gun violence in devastating ways. Sybrina Fulton lost her 17-year old son, Trayvon Martin, in 2012, when he was gunned down by self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman. In 2015, Tangela Sears, an anti-violence activist, lost her son, David Queen, 29, when he was shot and killed in Tallahassee. And former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head during a constituent meeting in Arizona in 2011.
On Monday, the three were joined by Gifford’s husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and other gun violence prevention activists at a round-table discussion at the Belafonte TACOLCY Center in Liberty City to discuss the toll gun violence takes on communities across America, particularly communities of color.
The group also discussed the steps Hillary Clinton will take to address the gun violence epidemic if she is elected president.
At the round-table, participants discussed the most effective ways to address gun violence in their community, and victims of gun violence shared their stories, including Giffords, from the perspective as a survivor dealing with the aftermath of being shot.
In a press conference following the event, the three women joined Kelly and Wilson to speak about the devastating impact gun violence has on communities in Miami and around the U.S.
“Today, we were able to tell stories, about what has happened, and how they plan to help us pass sensible gun laws in Congress, in the State, and in our County, so to work for safer streets for our people. We all know that we will be fighting from this day, until Hillary Clinton is elected, because we have to make sure that she is elected, so that we can know that she is on our side when it comes to gun violence,” said Wilson.
When she approached the podium, it appeared Giffords would be reading from a written statement, however, after her husband whispered to her, she ditched the notes and said, “I’m here to talk to you about Hillary Clinton. Hillary is tough. Hillary is courageous. She will fight to make our families safer. In the White House, she will stand up to the gun lobby. That’s why I’m voting for Hillary. Speaking is difficult for me, but come January, I want to say these two words: ‘Madame Presi- dent,'” said Giffords. “What political leaders say really matters. Not only when you’re elected to the office, but when you are interviewing for the office. Affirming violence, when somebody does that, we should really worry that violence will follow,” Kelly.
said “I’m glad America is waking up. We need to continue to wake up. Because a lot of people were sleeping, a lot of people were not aware of how dangerous these gun laws are. We don’t have an issue with responsible people owning guns, but we do have a problem with gun violence in this country, and I am glad it is coming to light. I want people to continue to keep standing up and speaking out and voice your opinion in November. Decide to make a choice, decide to stand up for something. Our kids’ lives depend on it,” said Fulton.
“I thank former Congress- woman Gabbie Giffords for being here today, because it is a powerful move to be shot in the head and still continue to go around and try and change laws to make things better for others. I support Hillary because we do need tougher gun laws,” said Sears.