President Barack Obama addressed the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 43rd annual legislative conference at the Phoenix Awards Gala last night in Washington, D.C. Days after mass shootings in both of his hometowns, President Obama urged his supporters last night “to get back up and go back at it” and help push stalled legislation out of Congress so dangerous people won’t get their hands on guns.
“We can’t rest until all of our children can go to school or walk down the street free from the fear that they will be struck down by a stray bullet,” Obama said.
Two days ago in his hometown of Chicago, 13 people out watching a game of pickup basketball at a neighborhood park were wounded by gunfire, including a 3-year-old boy. This past Monday in Washington DC, 12 people were slain by a gunman who later was killed by police.
“Tomorrow night I’ll be meeting in mourning with families in this city who now know the same unspeakable grief of families in Newtown and Aurora and Tucson and Chicago and New Orleans and all across the country, people whose loved ones were torn from them without headlines sometimes or public outcry. But it’s happening every single day,” he said. “We fought a good fight earlier this year, but we came up short and that means we’ve got to get back up and go back at it because as long as there are those who fight to make it as easy as possible for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun, then we’ve got to work as hard as possible for the sake of our children. We’ve got to be ones who are willing to do more work to make it harder.”
Obama is focused on tightening access to guns, strengthening gun laws that will require background checks for sales online and at gun shows.
The dinner also highlighted the “Spirit of 1963,” the Civil Rights movement and the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice led 50 years ago at the Lincoln Memorial by Martin Luther King, Jr. Obama acknowledged progress made but said there is more to be done. He said upward mobility has slipped out of reach for too many Americans, including those in largely black communities.
“We must make this country a place where anyone who works hard can earn their way into the middle class… And until we do, we can’t let up and we can’t rest,” said Obama. –Joi Pearson @JoiAPearson
Photos by Joi Pearson Photography