So screams the headline of a flyer put out to promote a protest march against the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh. According to a background memo (see below) put out on the march, they hope to get 300 people to attend including at least “5 spirtual leaders”. My guess is if they even have 30 people attending, the local media will probably give them at least as much press as the 65,000 estimated attendees at the Annual Meeting.
Still, as a blogger, I have to say the picture taking opportunities of this protest march undoubtedly will be superb. I still remember some of the pictures from Charlotte featuring Breda and the gun prohibitionists.
Heck, I might invite one of them in to see the Acres of Death and to touch a gun. Maybe the fact that their hands won’t be instantly destroyed when they touch the gun will change their minds. On second thought, it probably won’t as their minds are not open.
Rally and March to keep illegal guns off the street
When: Saturday, April 30, 2011
Time: Meet at 11:30 a.m. — Rally and March at 12:00 Noon
Where: Freedom Corner (Centre Ave & Crawford St.) 1506 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 – Across the street from St. Benedict the Moor Church March: From Freedom Corner to the Convention Center
Why: To counter the the NRA’s presence in Pittsburgh with our own message to the NRA and to the politicians and public officials that cow to their pressure: that we, the people, demand that illegal guns be kept out of our communities. And this can be done with our state and federal governments taking two steps that over 80% of Americans overwhelmingly support:
Submit the names of all individuals who should be prohibited from buying guns into the national background check system, especially criminals, drug abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill; and
Require a background check for every gun sale in America.
Background of the Event / Specifics / Message / Purpose
The NRA leadership and their lobbyists stand adamantly opposed to measures that would keep illegal guns off the street and out of our communities and ultimately save lives. In other words, they champion lax gun laws that result in the killings of our loved ones, friends, community members, etc. It makes me angry just to write that knowing that it’s true. This is the organization that’s coming to town claiming they support freedom and so-called American values. Well, all I can say is that they don’t share my values and I’d go as far as to say they probably don’t share your values either. But who am I to say.
We have seen people gathering en mass to act on their values in a show of power all across the world in the past four months, from the Middle East to our Midwestern state neighbors. It’s our turn to stand up for our values and show our state and federal officials that we are serious about keeping illegal guns off the street. They need to see us, the people, take action. They need to hear the people’s voice.
We will begin a Freedom Corner by voicing our message loud and clear and explain why this issue is important to us. We will have several people directly affected by gun violence give their testimony as to the effect gun violence has had on their lives and the lives of their family. We will then drive home the need for our state and federal officials to take action and call upon them to listen to the voice of the people and do so. We will then march to the convention center while the churches in the downtown area toll their bells 600 times – once for each person killed in PA last year by an illegal gun. We will then gather in front of the convention center (the site of the NRA convention) and read aloud the names of those in Allegheny County who have died as a result of gun violence.
*The memory of those lost to gun violence leads us to action.
*Keep illegal guns off the street and reduce access to them.
*Never touch a gun!
*Fight for a fair economy — Gun violence is often the end product of the convergence of a laundry list of problems, ones that could be remedied if our governments (state & federal) weren’t considering slashing the programs and services that help sustain our communities all because large corporations aren’t paying their fair share in taxes. We need our economy to grow (as well as good-paying jobs) and to invest in our communities and the future not solve the so-called budget crises on the backs of those who can least afford it.
*Holy Ground Campaign — We are all holy… the land we walk, live, and recreate on is holy and as stewards of our communities the responsibility is on us to take action to make sure that it is treated as such and that we are treated as such.
The plan is set and it’s now time to make sure the rally and march are well attended. Our goal is to have at least 300 people there, which would mean if the 10 or so active members of the task force were working on turnout, each person would need to be responsible for having 30 people there. That’s not all that many when you think about that number including congregants, colleagues, friends, family, acquaintances, other people with whom you’re in a relationship, and anybody those people bring.
And that’s what we should be focusing on — having passionate and motivated people who care about reducing gun violence bring people they know. All of the leaders who have worked on turnout for Holy Ground actions or other events know that making an announcement about it, having a blurb about it in the bulletin, and/or putting a flyer in their hand, while all helpful, by themselves they won’t ensure that people show up. We need to literally ask them to come and get a commitment from them to be there.
We would also like to ask you to reach out specifically to at least 5 spiritual leaders you know to come stand with us, literally, that afternoon. We want them to stand along side of us at the action and march.
Attached is the flyer. Also please keep a list of the people you know that are coming. This is also great to have people go around either at services or meeting, etc. and take names of those who commit to coming. It’s a great way to keep track of how many people are coming but also a great way to get their information so we can get in touch with them when we again need their support.
For these sorts of events, turnout is crucial. But this is what we do best: move people of faith into action. Spread the word far and wide, talk it up and get commitments to come. A Facebook event page will be made for the march. When it’s sent out, please RSVP to come and invite everyone of your friends/contacts you have in Pittsburgh to join us. Get it to the younger generation and tell them to run with it.