Jackson leads San Francisco rally
to promote gun control
Reverend Jesse Jackson led a community rally at the Ella Hill
Hutch Community Center
in San Francisco's Western Addition district today, to promote
gun control laws
as part of a national effort to bring to an end rampant street
violence and bloodshed.
By Laura Dudnick
July 8, 2007
About 150 people joined the Rev. Jesse Jackson's call for stricter
federal gun control policy today at a peace rally in the Western
But those attending the rally at the Ella Hutch Community Center
weren't alone in hearing Jackson's message, according to a San
Francisco-based civil rights group.
District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi
Jackson's speech was also heard by hundreds of Bay Area residents
who refuse to leave their homes because of increasing violence
in their neighborhoods, according to Sharen Hewitt of The CLAER
Project, a local civil rights group that helped organize the event.
The rally was held amid a wave of violence that claimed at least
12 lives around the Bay Area last weekend, including four killings
each in San Francisco and Oakland and more in Richmond and unincorporated
Hewitt said she and local activists have been battling the issues
of gun violence in local cities for more than five years.
"Jackson joined the work of many locals against the burgeoning
issues of homicide in (San Francisco) and across the nation,"
Jackson reiterated the need for stricter federal gun control
policy, including a ban on assault weapons, while his civil rights
group, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, prepares for a nationwide rally
on August 28.
He also visited True Vine Ministries Baptist Church in West Oakland
Saturday to promote the message.
"There were more people killed in the Bay Area this weekend
than U.S. soldiers in Iraq," said Kevin Bard, a San Francisco
State University political science student and intern of The CLAER
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's office is scheduled to introduce
a new package of legislation at Monday's public safety meeting,
according to Marissa Bloom, policy fellow for the CLAER project.
The four-point plan includes the implementation of a registry
for gun offenses, similar to the sex offense charges that now
exist, according to Bloom.
Hewitt said immediate action against gun violence is necessary
because the problem does not only affect those who are directly
involved in acts of violence.
"People are really traumatized in these communities,"
District 13 Assemblymember Mark Leno (left)
District 3 Senator Carole Migden, San Francisco Police Commissioner
"These people just want to live with a degree of normality.
There are people here who are actively living isolated and unengaged.
And there are the secondary impacts, such as the mothers who don't
send their kid out to play, or the elderly who fear leaving their
homes to pick up medication. People should not be afraid of going
outside. That should be a normal activity."
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