“It seems that some within the powerful ranks of the NRA have forgotten that there are other rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution and that dissent is freedom,” said Lisa Peterson to the 50 people gathered at the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence. “Their attacks on the First Amendment, while touting a literal and absolutist misinterpretation of the Second is at best hypocrisy and at worst a threat to our democracy and its defenders.”
On Friday morning hundreds of women and men, organized by the Women’s March, held protests outside the National Rifle Association (NRA) headquarters in Fairfax County, Virginia. They then set off on a 17-mile march to the United States Department of Justice in Washington DC, reconvening for more protests on Saturday morning. The event is Providence was a quickly organized sister event that drew people from as far away as New Hampshire to attend.
At issue is a video featuring conservative propagandist Dana Loesch that seems to call for armed resistance against anti-Trump protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement. The Women’s March and Black Lives Matter are demanding that “the NRA to retract its ad inciting violence against protesters.”
Previous to the two days of protests, Women’s March founder Tamika Mallory wrote a letter to NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre asking that the offending video be removed and that an apology be issued.
Also, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, (in partnership with Dignity and Power Now, The Reverence Project, RISIST, and Defend Movement) issued a video in response to the NRA, asserting their right to protest and fight against white supremacy and violent policing without fear of violence.
Also of concern to both groups is the NRA’s silence about the killing of Philando Castile by Jeronimo Yanez, a Minnesota police officer who was later acquitted of murder. Castile was licensed to carry a gun and was following all directions from police officers before being shot and killed. The NRA is being accused of only protecting the rights of white gun owners.
Instead of apologizing or removing the offending video or issuing a statement about Castile’s right to bear arms, the NRA has responded with a video featuring another right wing propagandist who defends and doubles down on the hateful rhetoric from the first video.
Speakers at the Rhode Island rally included Moms Demand Action‘s Jennifer Boylan, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, Gail Crompton McHugh and Darrell Moore from Women’s March, and Black Lives Matter members Gary Dantzler and Troy.
Here’s Lisa Peterson, quoted above.
“People of color have been snuffed out of the [American] Dream, time and time again,” said Gary Dantzler, a member of the New England Chapter of Black Lives Matter. “It hurts to watch white America sit and do nothing about it.”
Troy also represents Black Lives Matter.
Central Falls Mayor James Diossa
Jennifer Boylan, Moms Demand Action
Gail Crompton McHugh of Women’s March
Darrell Moore of Women’s March