On June 23, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) called a week-long recess for Congress mere hours after Representative John Lewis (D-GA) led the heroic sit-in on the House floor, demanding a vote on two amendments that would help prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. While Congress got to go home without calling the vote or doing their jobs, here at Generation Progress we went straight back to work, planning our next course of action. This week, staff members and interns from Generation Progress and the Center for American Progress joined gun violence prevention advocates at the Reagan National Airport to welcome our hard working (or not-so-hard working) Representatives back from recess. The following day, we rallied around the Capitol steps in solidarity with the house Democrats in order to remind members of Congress that we have not forgotten about these bills, nor have we forgotten about their inaction. Since it looks like Congress needs us to shout a little louder and a little longer for our voices to be heard, we’ve created a short list of tips and tricks to making it through a gun violence prevention rally this summer.
Join the movement to end gun violence — join our #Fight4AFuture Network.
1. Get Angry
Getting angry is the easiest step: everyday, 297 people in America are shot and become victims of gun violence. Congress has the ability to pass commonsense laws that would prevent guns from falling in the wrong hands, but they’ve failed to do so, even after countless mass shootings and acts of everyday gun violence. We can’t afford to be apathetic about gun violence anymore, we have to be angry.
2. Hold A Sign-Making Party
Can you imagine what you’d say if you got to meet and talk with your representative in private? Well write those thoughts down on a sign and wave them at the next rally– you never know who will see them! Here are some of our favorites:
There’s nothing glamorous about rallying for gun violence prevention. Expect to stand outside for long periods of time with no shade. Sunscreen and the support from your fellow sun burning protesters will help deflect the pain from the blistering heat, and will help you keep your focus on the cause.
4. Have Your Representative’s Number On Speed Dial
Welcome to the 21st century, where you can call your mom, your dad, and your representative with one click of a button! Rallying is one way to push for change but rallying and bombarding your Representative’s offices with calls is a surefire way to get their attention.
5. Rest Your Voice The Day Before
No rally is complete without lots of yelling, cheering and booing, and even some singing. Get ready to start or join in with chanting. Our Congress people are notoriously hard of hearing, as evidenced by their inability to listen to their voters’ calls for gun violence prevention, so we want to make sure they can hear us by being as loud as possible.
6. Stand Up (Or Sit Down)
Wherever you are, whoever you are, make a point to act now. As Senator John Lewis said after the historic sit-in, “By sitting down, we were really standing up.” If you can’t attend a rally, there are plenty of other ways to participate in the national gun violence prevention conversation: click here for some other ways you can push for change.
7. Stay Angry
Our Representatives aren’t listening to us, aren’t protecting us, and aren’t doing their jobs, so we’re angry and we’ll stay angry for as long as it takes. Don’t let politicians get away with ignoring us; they’ve underestimated the power of direct action and it’s high time we remind them that our anger won’t go away until gun violence prevention becomes a priority.
Join the movement to end gun violence — join our #Fight4AFuture Network. If you’re in D.C. join us on Thursday for the next gun violence prevention rally on Capitol Hill.