GAG Hits Nation's Capital in Double-Header Demonstrations to Break the Chain of Death
In what was one of Gays Against Guns most beautiful, significant, and collaborative actions yet, GAG members from the New York, New Jersey and Washington DC chapters joined forces with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and the National Action Network (NAN) at the “Unity Rally and 72 Days of Action on Gun Violence” and then staged its own moving, direct action in Washington DC on Saturday, August 27.
The Unity Rally and 72 Days of Action on Gun Violence
The rally, organized by the AFT and NAN, began at Folger Park in Washington, DC and continued in a procession to the National Rifle Association’s lobbying headquarters on First St SE where a dais and podium were erected. Randi Weingarten, AFT’s president, brought the rally to order by giving an impassioned introductory speech to the hundreds of participants and spectators. She was followed by others including Kirsten Foy of NAN, and GAG’s co-founder John Grauwiler (video below).
John Gauwiler, GAG Co-founder, addresses the Unity Rally & 72 Days of Action Against Gun Violence
Gays Against Guns Takes it to the Tourists | March and Demonstration
Following the Unity Rally, Gays Against Guns staged another of its iconic demonstrations that afternoon.
In brilliant sunshine and nearly cloudless skies, dozens of GAG participants from the New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC chapters met at the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial where they transformed themselves into the signature teams of “Human Beings” and “GAG’ers”. The group then assembled behind a single Human Being holding aloft a glistening, mirrored disco ball on a white pole representing the “safe space” of the Pulse Nightclub which was desecrated by the slaughter of 49 GLBTQ people and their allies in Orlando.
With the Human Beings - walking silently and mournfully - as the vanguard, the procession commenced through the shimmering white stone obelisks of the MLK memorial, around his statue, back out and and alongside Independence Ave SW, to the National World War II memorial. Then they walked along the length and edge of the Reflecting Pool, and up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
“People Die! You Don’t Care! You Just Want Money, LaPierre!”
Chanting “People Die! You Don’t Care! You Just Want Money, LaPierre!”, “US
Congress! NRA! How Many Kids Did You Kill Today!” and other calls to action, the GAG’ers ascended the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial behind the Human Beings and unfurled the massive and iconic Gays Against Guns rainbow banner. Then, among the throngs of visitors and tourists, and one day shy of the 53rd anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I have a Dream” speech delivered on those very steps, the GAG’ers laid down and staged a die-in.
Courtesy of Gays Against Guns - DC
The importance of demonstrating in our Nation's Capital, and the impact made by doing it in a location crowded with tourists are essential elements to the success of this demonstration. However, GAG’s selection of the start and end locations of the demonstration: monuments to two great men who were, themselves, victims of gun violence must not be understated.
The World was forever and irrevocably changed by the murder of these two men by gunshots. In America, sadly, the World is changed this same way 90 times every day. GAG continues to ask: “How Many More Have to Die” before sensible gun safety legislation is passed at a federal level?