Saturday, March 24, 2018

Next steps

"A moment is different than a MOVEMENT. Every great movement is about sacrifice," of time, of energy, of effort, and more. People need to make today's moment a sustained movement. - Joe Madison, Civil/Human Rights activist

Hundreds turn out for a rally in Cameron Park after the La Crosse March for our Lives on March 23
More than 800 rallies around the country gave students, parents, teachers, veterans, elected leaders, survivors, and others an opportunity to voice their determination to end the rule of the NRA. Speakers at the La Crosse rally included students and teachers, those who have lost friends and loved ones to gun violence, elected officials urging people to take action by voting, and health workers who understand the links between lax gun laws and domestic abuse, suicide, at-risk families, and other dangers in our communities.

The Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) is encouraging those wishing to, "make sure the March For Our Lives keeps moving forward," to sign up for more information at their web site

In addition, a very important election is happening right now in Wisconsin
State Supreme Court - the court is currently dominated by Republican-backed judges. Rebecca Dallet is the only candidate left in the race not endorsed by the NRA. If you'd like to work to make sure at least one of the Wisconsin Supreme Court justices is not backed by the NRA, you may wish to help the Dallet campaign by volunteering to canvass (knock on doors) in your neighborhood, making calls from your home, and/or voting. See the ACLU's Wisconsin Supreme Court scorecard for more.

Corporations are not people - in La Crosse County, voters may support an advisory referendum that will add our county to the list of those supporting a constitutional amendment that would clearly state money is not speech and corporations are not people. There's been a huge increase in "dark" money to candidates after the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling granting "free speech rights" (reduced restrictions on the spending of money) for corporations. The NRA has taken advantage of this new climate, donating big to candidates, and, more importantly, in outside spending. Some research shows that illegal contributions from outside the country have been passed through groups like the NRA because of this ruling.

VOTE! In most area Wisconsin municipalities, voters may vote "absentee in person" in their clerks' offices this coming week (Monday, March 26 through Friday, March 30). Contact your clerk for hours. Otherwise, vote on Tuesday, April 3. MyVote Wisconsin will tell you how to register and vote, what's on your ballot and more.

When it comes down to it, marching but not voting (and engaging and speaking out and organizing and paying attention) is like thoughts and prayers. It sounds good but it won't make change. As US Representative and "people's politician" Shirley Chisholm once said, "You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas."

Today's organizers, Ken Tschumper, Jacob Sciammas, Ben Morris, Gretchen Guinn Paquette, and others, deserve great credit for making this event happen in a very short time. Today's speakers (see list below) made clear how many lives and communities this issue touches. Thanks to them and to all the others individuals and organizations that helped spread the word.

If your group or organization would like to post or blog at this site, please email couleeprogressive at hotmail. We need to get together, work together, and stick together to make needed changes.

Let this be one of the first steps.

Today's speakers included:
  • Pastor Ben Morris: We can end gun violence and still be hunters.
  • Mayor Tim Kabat: There is no place for gun violence in La Crosse
  • Betsy Riling: I want to teach in a safe school not an armed bunker
  • Father Konopa: What Catholicism teaches us about gun violence
  • Marley Richmond: I go to school to learn not to be shot at
  • Prof. Richard Breaux: Guns, civil rights and race relations in America
  • Libby Miller: Please keep guns out of schools
  • Cheryl Hancock: It’s a bad idea to arm teachers
  • Tara Johnson: Guns cost La Crosse taxpayers, families & children
  • Bishop Jim Arends: A little religion can go a long way to end gun violence
  • Rep Jill Billings: Democrat proposals for gun safety in the Wisconsin Legislature
  • Sister Laura Nettles: Gun violence hurts us in many ways
  • John Havlicek: Teachers do not want to be armed
  • Kate Nelson: Stop blaming people with mental health problems for gun violence
  • Prof. Mike Smuksta: A little history on gun control in America
  • Chris Clair: The truth about the Heller Decision and the Second Amendment
  • Dr. Mark Neumann and Dr. Bob Freedland: Guns and public health.
  • Sen Jennifer Shilling: Welcoming new voices and leaders on gun issues
  • Bishop Jay Lambert: The moral imperative for ending gun violence
  • Gretchen Guinn Paquette: Moms Demand Action and you can too

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