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Marching for our children’s lives, our nation’s soul

MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN | 4/3/2018, 11:09 a.m.
I am so proud of every one of the brave young survivors and opponents of gun violence, organizers, and marchers ...

The recent school shootings have only reinforced the sad truth that children and teens cannot feel safe anywhere in America. So we are all in the same boat and must act together to stop the plague of violence. Gun safety laws that apply only in one city or state can’t fully stop our national epidemic of gun proliferation and violence any better than we can stop a flu epidemic by vaccinating one family or neighborhood. From inner cities to rural communities to quiet suburbs, child and adult survivors of gun violence all over America pay an unacceptably high price every day.

Guns leave multiple victims: those who die, those who are injured, those who lose family, friends, pastors and teachers, and those who must care for them. The physical, psychological and emotional toll of gun violence on victims, bystanders and families can be overwhelming and leaves effects that last for years or for life.

One of the most valuable immediate effects of the march will be the powerful new coalitions forming in communities and states across the country of all those affected by gun violence strengthened by young voices. Every day we must keep shouting along with our children and youths: Enough.

All of us – Democrats, Republicans and independents, gun owners and non-gun owners – must stand up and demand that our leaders treat gun violence in America as the tragic but preventable public health epidemic that it is and take every step necessary to save the lives of our children, families, and all those victimized by relentless, preventable gun violence.

Congress must follow the will of the people instead of the will of the NRA and gun manufacturers whose profits are soaked in blood. Our laws, our common public interest, and respect for the sanctity of life for every human being must define common sense gun safety, not the NRA. The march is an extraordinary turning point signaling a new day in America and a new generation of Americans determined to say never again.

Marian Wright Edelman is the president of the Children’s Defense Fund. For more information, go to http://www.childrensdefense.org.