When we stood with millions in January in our nation’s Capitol for the Women’s March on Washington and hundreds of sister marches nation and worldwide, the power of our collective voices as women demanding that our leaders address our interests, safety and welfare was palpable.
Regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation or political party, we knew this moment needed to be about more than just one day and about more than just one march. And if we have learned anything from the mothers of the movements that came before us, it is that the work is never over and that we must face the challenges yet to come, together.
As women and gun violence prevention activists and leaders, the stakes have never been higher. The extremist leadership of the National Rifle Association donated more than 30 million dollars to Donald Trump’s campaign and they are a direct threat to women and families everywhere. Their leadership has a history of misogyny ― from describing women as “b*tches” and “c*nts” to downplaying rape. And the policies they lobby for disproportionately affect women and communities of color. As the largest outside donor to Trump’s presidential campaign, the NRA leadership has been emboldened to push their deadly agenda now more than ever.
And that’s why – as leaders of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown, the country’s largest gun safety organization – we immediately got to work. Our Moms Demand Action volunteers have shown up by the hundreds in places like Georgia, Florida, Iowa, Missouri and Texas to show opposition to policies that put more guns in more places, no questions asked like expansion of Stand Your Ground laws, guns in K-12 schools and guns on campus. And our voices are being heard — we are seeing lawmakers in places like Colorado and Montana reject some of these extreme positions.
In January, we marched because gun violence is a women’s issue — American women are 16 times more likely to be killed with a gun than in other high-income countries. We marched because approximately 4.5 million American women have been threatened with guns, and guns are the weapon of choice in domestic violence murders. We marched because black Americans make up 14 percent of the U.S. population, but are victims of more than half of all gun homicides. We marched because violence against transgender women and gun violence are often fatally linked. And we marched because as care givers and community leaders, when gun violence affects our families, friends and neighbors, we are on the front lines working to prevent future tragedies and supporting our loved ones.
But we also know that as women, we do not and cannot lead single-issue lives. We know that by using our voices, votes and wallets, we can push back against the misogyny, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, anti-immigrant rhetoric and religious intolerance that shape many of our realities. And while we know that women make up only a quarter of state legislators, one in five members of U.S. Congress, and just a sliver of Fortune 500 CEOs, we also know that women are an economic powerhouse. We make about 80 percent of all spending decisions for American families. And we are diligently working to course correct for the lack of fair representation in the other arenas of power that affect women’s lives.
And that is why on Wednesday, International Women’s Day, Moms Demand Action will support the Women’s March on Washington’s “Day Without a Woman,” a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity in support of equity, justice and the human rights of women and all gender-oppressed people.
Our volunteers – women and mothers, gun violence survivors, and everyday Americans – spend countless hours making our country safer while paid legislators too often ignore the gun violence crisis that kills more than 90 Americans and injures hundreds more every day. Too often they choose politics over public safety.
So Wednesday, as committed partners to the “Day Without a Woman,” we will:
And as gun violence prevention leaders,Wednesday — and every day, we will continue to share the stories of our fearless volunteers and survivors. We will continue to stand and fight back against an extremist agenda that ignores the facts and puts all of our lives at risk. We will continue to challenge ourselves to fight for what is right and protect those who cannot protect themselves.
We hope you will join us.