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After Continued Violence, UFCW Calls for National Summit on Justice

Public Letter in New York Times Calls on Leaders to Convene, Media to Broadcast a National Conversation

UFCW_logo.svgWashington, D.C. – With acts of violence against police officers and African Americans shaking our nation, today the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union placed an open letter in the New York Times calling for a national and public summit on justice in America.

The UFCW letter was submitted before the deaths of three police officers in Baton RougeSunday morning. It pleads with our nation’s elected officials, civil rights leaders, police and justice officials to jointly address the division and violence we are witnessing. It also asks our nation’s broadcast and cable networks to air this discussion in prime time to help unite the country.

“Even before yesterday’s horrific killings, our hope was that this open letter would encourage Americans to come together and face what divides us,” said Marc Perrone, International President for the UFCW and co-chair of the AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice. “For the sake of all our children, we must believe in a better America. We cannot continue to allow hate to determine who we are and who we can be.”

Excerpts from the ad are below:

“As a diverse union family with over 1.3 million members, such a national summit would give our members and all Americans the chance to hear directly from our national and state elected leaders, civil rights officials, Black Lives Matter movement leaders, local and state police officials, as well as representatives from labor, media, and corporate America.

“It would provide opportunity to listen to difficult truths, to hear the sincerity of fears and concerns so many feel, and to understand the changes that we must make.

“To help focus our nation’s awareness, we believe that all our nation’s major cable and broadcast channels should all agree to televise this national summit in prime time. By simulcasting this summit across all major networks, the call for change would echo across this nation like never before.”

Read the full letter here.


UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about the UFCW www.ufcw.org

The Brady Campaign Launches Provocative New PSA On Dangers Of Guns In The Home

As Americans gather for the 4th of July, Brady Center launches TalkAboutGuns.org, a resource for families to start conversations about the hidden risks of guns 

More than 1.7 million American children live in homes with unlocked, loaded guns that put their lives at risk 

Washington, DC – As Americans gather for the 4th of July, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is releasing a new public service announcement and website designed to spark conversations among families and friends about the unknown dangers of guns in the home.

TalkAboutGuns.Org is a resource to help parents and families—whether they own guns or not—strike up conversations about the risks of a gun in the home, and make informed decisions that save lives. 

And on a holiday when some Americans celebrate with gunfire, the risks are even greater. In fact, last 4th of July at least two Americans were killed by celebratory gunfire.

But guns in the home actually pose a risk all year long. The reality is, a gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure in a domestic homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense. A gun in the home simply makes families less safe.

With a quiz and tips for keeping families safe, TalkAbouGuns.org is designed for the millions of families who own guns and anyone who visits or plays in a home with a gun. With a provocative PSA and helpful discussion guides, it’s intended to help gun owners and non-gun owners alike strike up conversations and make informed decisions that save lives. 

“While the corporate gun lobby irresponsibly peddles the myth a gun in the home makes you safer, the data is clear: the opposite is true,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “As more Americans buy into the myth that a gun makes their home safer, gun deaths from suicides and accidental shootings continue to rise. We know the health and safety risks of keeping a gun in the home. Now it’s time to do something about it—and that starts with talking about it.”

Gun ownership substantially increases the risk of suicide and accidental shootings. In fact,

  • 60 percent of all youth gun deaths occur in the home,
  • 82 percent of youth firearm suicides use a gun belonging to a family member, usually a parent,
  • And an alarming 68 percent of school shooters acquired the guns they used from home.

With 1.7 million American kids living in the same house as a loaded, unlocked gun, Americans can’t afford to ignore these dangers.

The mission of the Brady organization and its Million Mom March is to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz. 

About Us: The Brady Campaign and Center, united with the Million Mom March, is a national network of more than 90 grassroots chapter affiliates mobilized to prevent gun violence at the community level. The network has played a vital role in expanding Brady background checks in the six states that have passed legislation since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and produced the largest national protest of gun violence in U.S. history – The Million Mom March, Mother’s Day 2000

When can we stop adding teachers’ names to this list?

Sunrise over Shiloh National Cemetery

To the family of Michael Landsberry… and to all teachers across the United States…

Our hearts are with you tonight.  We grieve with you.  We long for the day when our nation’s schools can truly be “the safe sanctuaries our children need to learn and grow.”

It has been barely 10 months since Sandy Hook.  Since then, almost 28,000 Americans — including hundreds of children — have been killed by guns.

We are heartbroken that another teacher’s name has been added to that tally.


“We say no…”

For most Christians, today marks Good Friday. It also marks 105 days since the deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Earlier this Holy Week, hundreds of people walked and prayed from the White House to the Capitol in a traditional “Way of the Cross” liturgy. The group, which included more than 20 Episcopal bishops, remembered those whose lives have been taken by guns and challenged a culture of violence.

This short video of their walk is worth watching.

The gun control legislation proposed by President Obama in the wake of the Newtown shootings now faces threats of a Senate filibuster.


That’s It, REP ITSE Has To Go For Jeopardizing The Safety Of Our Children (HB 609)

I am outraged at State Rep Dan Itse and his new bill HB 609 that would allow teachers to carry loaded weapons at schools. Rep Itse, told AP reporter Norma Love that he submitted this legislation in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy.

This idea just sickens me! The idea that we should be encouraging our teachers to openly carry loaded weapons in our school. The place where we are trying our best to keep guns away from! Scott McGilvray, President of the NH chapter of the National Education Association said,

“It is both astounding and disturbing that following the recent tragedies, politicians and pundits who have spent little if any time in public schools have taken to the airwaves and to the State House floors to call for arming our teachers. (2)”

“As the rest of the country debates how to keep guns out of schools. In New Hampshire, we are actually proposing bringing more guns in. Guns have no place in our schools.”

This is asking for problems. Rep Itse is asking for more guns in our schools. This idea of more guns in our schools appalls me and I have not hidden that fact (see also The Last Thing We Need Is MORE Guns In Our Schools And State Houses). More guns in our schools mean a higher possibility of a child being shot accidentally. Dean Michener of the New Hampshire School Boards Association said, “the chances an armed teacher will hit a child are high.” This is an unacceptable risk to on our most prized possessions.

Michener also made reference to the study from New York where police officers involved in a ‘fire fight’ have an accuracy rating of only 18%. These are trained police officers who have mandatory training and marksmanship testing. Even with all of this testing and training, when an officer is being shot at, their accuracy rating drops to 18%. This alone is enough to say that a teacher should not be carrying a gun into any school. Teachers would not be required to have any training, any testing, or regulated requirements before they carry their loaded weapons into our schools. All a teacher would need is a licesene to carry a concealed weapon under Rep Itse’s proposed bill.

Rep Itse is trying to say that teachers need guns to protect themselves in the event of an armed gunman going through the school. To show you how crazy Itse is he said, “They (teachers) wouldn’t be hiding under their desks looking for a pair of scissors.” I assume that this is to stop the armed gunman. I guess Rep Itse did not read any of the stories of what educators at Sandy Hook did to protect the children all without guns, or scissors.

Why is Rep Itse not working to find ways to stop these events from happening. Instead he is wasting time creating laws that will only make tragedies in our school worse when they happen.

I am glad to see that Governor Hassan will not stand for this type of legislation. “The governor believes we must always be working to improve the safety of our schools and communities, but encouraging weapons in the classroom would put New Hampshire’s children at risk of harm,” said Marc Goldberg, Hassan’s press secretary.

I hope the voters in Fremont realize that this is the guy they voted in. The guy who wants to revive the NH Militia and put armed teachers in our schools. Hopefully the good people of Fremont will see what Rep Itse is doing in Concord and reject his extremist view for New Hampshire. Unfortunately we have to wait another year and a half till we can remove Rep Itse, however I will not forget this.


President Obama Honors Families Of Sandy Hook With Citizens Medal

The tragedy of Sandy Hook is still very fresh in our memory.  The story of a mentally ill student terrorizing a small school taking the lives of students and teachers.

President Obama opened the ceremony by saying, “Today, we honor you.  We celebrate you.  And, most of all, we have a chance to say thank you.  Because all of us are what the rest of us aspire to be. “

There are many cases where everyday people become instant heroes for the actions they took in the face of immediate danger.  President Obama continues;

“And then when Dawn Hochsprung, and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino, Anne Marie Murphy — when they showed up for work at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14th of last year, they expected a day like any other — doing what was right for their kids; spent a chilly morning readying classrooms and welcoming young students — they had no idea that evil was about to strike.  And when it did, they could have taken shelter by themselves.  They could have focused on their own safety, on their own wellbeing.  But they didn’t.  They gave their lives to protect the precious children in their care.  They gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us.

And that’s what we honor today — the courageous heart, the selfless spirit, the inspiring actions of extraordinary Americans, extraordinary citizens. “

True heroes are the one who are willing to sacrifice their lives to save others.  This is exactly what happened in Sandy Hook.  These brave AFT teachers sacrificed their lives to save the children in their care.  (Read more When Tragedy Strike, Heroes Emerge. In Sandy Hook, The Educators Are The Heroes)

Below is the transcript of President Obama’s presentation of awards to the families of the brave educators who died in Sandy Hook.

Heroic Teachers“The Presidential Citizens Medal is awarded to Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto for dedicating themselves to their students and to the community of Newtown, Connecticut. Some had been at Sandy Hook Elementary School for only weeks; others were preparing to retire after decades of service. All worked long past the school bell to give the children in their care a future worth their talents. On December 14, 2012, unthinkable tragedy swept through Newtown, etching the names of these six courageous women into the heart of our nation forever. The United States honors Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto for their extraordinary commitment to the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Accepting on behalf of Rachel D’Avino — her mother, Mary D’Avino and sister, Sarah D’Avino. 

Accepting on behalf of Dawn Hochsprung — her daughter, Erica Lafferty, and mother, Cheryl Lafferty. 

Accepting on behalf of Anne Marie Murphy — her husband, Michael Murphy, and daughters, Paige and Colleen Murphy.

Accepting on behalf of Lauren Rousseau — her parents, Terry and Gilles Rousseau. 

Accepting on behalf of Mary Sherlach — her husband, Bill Sherlach, and daughters, Katy Sherlach and Maura Schwartz. 

Accepting on behalf of Victoria Soto — her parents, Donna and Carlos Soto.

(Below is the full video from the White House of the award presentations)

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