Just before the two-month anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, Miami community leaders gathered Monday to send Congress their own “State of the Union” message on gun violence.
At the corner of Broadway and 18th Avenue, Miami-Dade County School Board member Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall spoke passionately about the community stepping up to keep the streets safe for all.
“Do we have any influence? Yes we do!” Can we use the influence?” she asked, before guiding the crowd as it responded, “Yes we can.”
But the most powerful words came from five mothers who all lost a son to gun violence.
“Don’t give up. Because if it’s just one child I can save from going into that Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s Office, one child I can keep his blood from being on the sidewalk, one child looking like road kill,” said community advocate Queen Brown, whose son was gunned down.
Carol Gardner’s son was shot and killed by an AK-47 in 2011.
“I’m not only here today for my son, I’m here for other families that are victims of a crime,” she said.
President Barack Obama is expected to address gun violence in his State of the Union address Tuesday. First Lady Michelle Obama has invited Cleopatra Pendleton – the mother of a Chicago teenager who was shot to death days after she performed in the president’s inauguration festivities – to be her guest at the speech, NBC News reported.
Across Florida, leaders and residents gave similar “State of the Union” messages to the one heard in Miami on Monday in an effort to urge Congress to tackle gun violence, which kills about 33 people in the U.S. every day.
“We’ve got some other things that we have to take care of and unfortunately President Obama, the Senate, the NRA, none of those people can do it for us. These problems we have to do them ourselves,” Brown said.