Today in Washington D.C., the Reform Jewish Movement joined the Metro Industrial Area Foundation for an interfaith press conference at the region’s largest crime-gun dealer. As part of a national day of action on gun violence on February 2nd, religious, civic and youth leaders gathered at Realco Guns in District Heights, Md. to demand that the CEO’s of the largest gun manufacturers improve their industry’s distribution practices, and to announce steps to move them to act. Our own Taylor Gleeson, NFTY Social Action Vice President made the following remarks:
My name is Taylor Gleeson and I am currently serving as the Social Action Vice President for the North American Federation of Temple Youth.
Three years ago, tragedy struck near my home when at the premier of the Dark Knight Rises, a man open fired in a movie theater in Aurora killing 12 people and wounding 70 others. Acts like this, of such horrible gun violence, have become the new normal in our country. Community after community, and family after family have known the horrors of dealing with gun violence and the gaping void created when a loved one is senselessly taken.
I am proud to be part of a movement that has committed itself to gun violence prevention. A year ago NFTY launched our “not one more” campaign to end gun violence. In partnership with The RAC (The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism), NFTY regions and local temple youth groups have escalated their focus on gun violence prevention through a combination of innovative programming, meaningful services, and intentional action. Teens across the country have and will continue to contact their legislators and local mayors and demand action, utilize social media to create positive change, deliver sermons and divrei Torah in their synagogues, and educate others about the devastating issue of gun violence.
As we engage in this work, we know we have allies in the faith community, in the advocacy community, and in many communities nationwide. Together I know we can strengthen our background check system, and pressure gun manufacturers to do their part in keeping guns out of the hands of those who seek to do harm.
I would rather be anywhere else today, rather than having to stand here and speak about gun violence. I wish that gun violence was not the epidemic that it is presently. But until the day that gun violence is just a sad and distant memory, I will be here, standing with others who are as committed as I am and as NFTY is, to healing this terrible brokenness in our society. And we know, with our faith, that we must not stand idly by while our nation’s blood is shed.
Learn more about NFTY’s Gun Violence Prevention Campaign at nfty.org/GVP