AAPI Victory Alliance, Rep. Lucy McBath & Activists Elevate the Voices of America's Gun Violence Survivors and Highlight Urgent Action Needed

OCTOBER 29, Washington, DC -- AAPI Victory Alliance held a panel on the movement for gun violence prevention with Congresswoman Lucy McBath (GA-6), Founder of the Ethan Miller Song Foundation Mike Song, Vice President of MomsRising Gloria Pan, Chairwoman of Newtown Action Alliance & Newtown Action Alliance Foundation Po Murray, and Bellaire High School Student and Students Demand Action Chapter Leader Milan Narayan.

The panel was moderated by Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. These important activists in the gun violence prevention sphere shared their stories, how guns negatively impact the Asian American community, and their solutions for fighting the gun lobby.

Congresswoman Lucy McBath said the following:

“It was these heartwarming memories that crushed my motherhood the night that [my son Jordan] was murdered. On November 12, 2012, Jordan and his three friends were sitting in their car at a gas station when a man who objected to the volume of their music unloaded a hidden firearm at a car full of unarmed teenage boys…During the trial, Jordan’s murderer attempted to use stand your ground laws to justify shooting four teenagers.

“Time and time again, our nation experiences gun violence tragedies that rip apart our families and create more empty seats at the kitchen table. But I knew as a country that we could do better.”

“With my story as a mother, I send so much love to the AAPI community. Many have journeyed here from far ends of the world to settle down in our communities and create small businesses that we shop from, and send their children to meet ours in classrooms across the nation. They come to live the American dream. As we have tragically seen in the last few years however, no one is immune to gun violence or bigotry. At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, the AAPI community became the target of bigoted attacks. They were also a recent group to fall victim to the tragedy of senseless gun violence in the Atlanta spa shooting.”

“Across the issues, but especially gun safety legislation, the AAPI community needs a seat at the table, and we cannot afford to leave your seat vacant.”

“I am proud of the work we have done so far to address gun violence such as my Bipartisan Background Checks Bill that passed the House. However, if we are to continue fighting for the future of our nation’s children, the AAPI community must continue projecting their voices in the fight for gun safety legislation.”

Ethan Miller Song Foundation Founder Mike Song said the following:

“Thousands of pathways that exist connect your child to a gun…If you bring more and more guns into your communities you get less and less safe…It's a never ending cycle of violence. There are 4.6 million kids with unsecured guns in their home, and the NRA, despite talking about it on their website, refuses to make an actual law to secure guns in homes.”

“We have some really powerful stories but sometimes we don’t tell them as concisely or as powerfully, myself included, as we could. Storytelling is something that seems to disarm the other side… the power of storytelling is something I think we haven’t quite tapped into and it also gives you the ability to create some shorter form videos that get across these powerful statistics.”

MomsRising Vice President Gloria Pan said the following:

“Due to the surge in anti-Asian hate, Asian Americans are living in fear and have turned to gun ownership to feel safe. The gun industry would love nothing better than to sell guns to Asian Americans and turn Asian Americans into a wedge voting block. Yet the normalization of gun ownership in the Asian American community would be disastrous.”

Newtown Action Alliance & Newtown Action Alliance Foundation Chairwoman Po Murray said the following:

“On December 14th, 2012…I learned there was a shooting at my kids' elementary school, and I found out that my neighbor did the shooting. Guns are the number one cause of death for American children.”

“When I was 10, I was living in Vermont and my mother filed for divorce. When my parents were separated, my father broke into the home and hit my mother over the head with a 2x4. She nearly died, and I know if my father had a gun, then my mother would not be alive today. As Gloria mentioned, domestic violence situations become five times more deadly if a gun is present, and every month an average of 57 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner in the United States, and 92% of all women killed with guns in high income countries were from the US.”

Texas Bellaire High School Students Demand Action Chapter Leader Milan Narayan said the following:

“Some of us have to go to school in clear plastic backpacks so that administrations can reduce the risk of school shootings. Constant active shooter drills and metal detectors at front doors transform former institutions of purity, education, and virtue into prisons.”

“My peers and I at Bellaire High School were just some of the few who were forced to face our fears. On January 14th, 2020, a 19-year-old student was fatally shot and killed in a classroom no more than a few hundred feet from where I was during my baseball practice. The commotion was disturbing, it was horrifying, thousands of students were escorted and rushed out of the building as fire trucks, police cars, and school district administration were rushed into the building. The uncertainty of the situation heightened everyone’s fears while no one could believe that our school had fallen victim to a shooting. I remember calling my mom as I exited the building, telling her that I thought it was a gas leak…I wish I were right.”

“The shooting will remain the most solemn memory of my high school life. Despite just being 15 at the time, it felt demoralizing that, although I had worked so diligently in the gun violence prevention sphere for years, it still struck my school. From the bottom up, we are the ones amplifying the message on social media. Having these conversations is the first step."