No More Moments of Silence by Fatima Doumbia

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Dead bodies must not be honored with silence, but with action! It has gone too far and I have little choice but to wonder if it were moments of silence that have led to more violence. If the past year is any indication, it has clearly not been effective in preventing random and senseless acts of violence. Let's sum up 2017 in ONLY terms of the latter. 

The year opened a mere six days into the month of January, with a shooting at a Fort Lauderdale airport which took the lives of five people and affected many others. Over the next several months, there were a series of gun-related acts of violence. First, In Denver with the fatal shooting of a transit authority guard. Then, with the shooting attack in Alexandria, Virginia targeting U.S. Republican lawmakers at a baseball field, where five people were injured, including U.S. Representative Steve Scalise and one police officer. The attacker was shot and killed. And we must not forget about the vehicular attack on protesters in Charlottesville and the shooting attack at a church service in Antioch, TN that together resulted in 2 dead, 27 injured and countless lives altered. The next mass shooting came only a month ago in Las Vegas when a "lone gunman with no apparent international ties" opened fire in a hotel room above a concert on the strip. 527 people were injured and 58 people were killed, making the incident one of the deadliest single-day mass shootings in U.S. history. The month of October closed with another vehicular attack, this time in New York City when a truck driver drove into pedestrians, killing 8 and injuring 12. And just recently, on Sunday, November 5th, a gunman entered a rural church in Sutherland Springs, TX and shot and killed 26 people; the youngest of whom was a 17-month old child. As if these are not enough tragedies for a lifetime, they sadly do not include the many Black boys and men who lost their lives this year due to gun violence and police brutality.

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What do we do? Rather, what are we NOT doing?! What conversations are being avoided? Which legislations aren't being passed? Is this a matter of poor gun regulation or an issue rooted in the stigmatization of mental illness--a stigma which guarantees it is never mentioned, let alone treated? Is it the guns or the people with the guns? For whichever reason, we must speak! I refuse to join in yet another moment of silence when that is quite literally the opposite of an action we have an obligation to perform: conversation. The next step is forcing our government to take responsibility. Moments of silence on the floor and a half-thought out speech from a barely competent president will never be enough! That isn't accountability, it is only a statement of the obvious! We must demand more! No more refusal to infringe upon the rights of those to bear arms who mean harm to the masses and make amendments to the laws that help put firearms in their hands!

Do not ask us to sit in silence to lament the victims of these pointless acts of violence! Now is the time to stand and speak.

To the survivors and families of victims, GRLZRadio's thoughts and prayers are with you. 

Tekeisha Meade