Newsletter – A View From The Campaign – Summer Heats Up – July 1, 2021
From the Executive Director
As June ends and we head into the long, hot summer, we at The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus wanted to highlight some of the important work we engaged in, while also acknowledging two important events in the area of human rights: Pride Month and Juneteenth.
This past month, fights for safe educational communities continued as we provided digital and technical support for a major victory in Colorado and back up to sustain an important veto in North Carolina. As noted last month, The Campaign continues to monitor court proceedings in Montana where the June 1st implementation of guns on campus has been stayed. Finally, another important victory for public safety & campuses took place in Oregon where local governments and higher education officials will be able to regulate concealed firearms.
In the area of human rights, we took time out to honor Pride Month and to mark the solemn five year remembrance when 49 people were murdered at the Pulse Night Club on June 12, 2016. We also honored Black Americans on Juneteenth by participating in a local event in Valdosta, GA.
In our civic engagement work, you will read more below about our partnering with Black Voters Matter and their recent Freedom Ride for Voting Rights that honored the first Freedom Ride 60 years ago, while advancing the cause of voting rights today.
We are also looking ahead here at The Campaign. We are excited to announce that our Annual Benefit will take place Friday, October 15, 2021 at Manhattanville College just north of New York City. Like our students & teachers, The Campaign Goes Back To Campus this fall and we invite you to join us.
Finally, as we typically do, we wanted to first thank you for taking actions when we ask and for supporting The Campaign with your gifts. Your donations make the difference and allow this work to continue, and touch even more lives with these successes. We are now halfway through 2021 – a year that has presented very challenging fights in several states. We remain very grateful for anything you can do. Please continue to follow and share our actions, and please also consider going the next mile with us by making a sustaining gift of support today.
Thanks for all you do!
Andy Pelosi, Executive Director
The Campaign Joins With BVM Freedom Ride for Voting Rights
The Campaign To Keep Guns Off Campus was honored to support and participate in Black Voters Matter Freedom Ride for Voting Rights.This caravan retraced the route first taken 60 years ago through nine states in the south, that ultimately helped to actualize the Voting Rights Acts of 1965. The legacy of the first Freedom Riders included then student leaders JohnLewis & Diane Nash, the leading founders of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), who weathered repeated violent attacks, putting their lives on the line in the fight for racial equality and justice for all.
A core tenant of The Campaign’s work in Georgia has been to encourage students and the broader community to engage in local & state democratic processes and to help make the connection between the power of their vote. These two efforts cultivate policy change and demonstrate what civic responsibility means and can achieve in these rural communities.
The Campaign gathered students from South Georgia, then traveled to Atlanta to join the BVM rally. We learned about the history of the voting rights movement, it’s relevance today all at the doorstep of the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and the King Center where the rally was held.
The day long rally in Atlanta featured music, a Teach In, followed by speakers including BVM co-founder Cliff Albright, voting rights advocates, and elected officials. Georgia NAACP President James Woodall also gave a rallying cry to the crowd to fight barriers to voting. “We’re going to stand together. We’re going to demand that justice roll down like water and righteousness flow like an ever-flowing stream. And the only way that we’re going to do that is if we band together and say that Black Voters Matter,” Woodall said.
It was a day that we will all remember. Thank you to our partner, Black Voters Matter, for inspiring and leading a new generation towards a stronger democracy and a more vibrant America.
Photos: Top – Campaign Program Director Kathryn Grant and volunteers at the BVM Teach In.
Middle – Fellow demonstrators in Atlanta
Bottom : Campaign Staff Kahlil, volunteers Emily and Drew plus City of Valdosta Councilman Eric Howard
Georgia – Juneteenth In Valdosta
This year, The Campaign To Keep Guns Off Campus participated in the 29th Annual Juneteenth Festival hosted by Valdosta’s Southside Library Booster Club. We thank student leaders Drew, Emily and Kahlil, along with Adrian Rivers, all at Kingdom Builders Deliverance Center, and of course, our partner, Black Voters Matter, for making this empowering celebration the best attended to date!
Photo: l-r Student Leaders Drew, Kahlil and Emily staff The Campaign booth
June is Pride month and The Campaign stands in solidarity with all members of the LGBTQ+ community. Unfortunately, June is also known for an unspeakable crime at Pulse Nightclub that targeted members of the Orlando LGBTQ+ and Latinx community, where a hateful lone gunman using military-style assault weapons murdered 49 innocent people and injured another 53. Often times, as the years move on, the names and faces of those killed in massacres, like Pulse, can fade.
In June, Governor Polis signed several gun violence prevention bills into law. The one in which The Campaign pitched in to help our colleagues at Colorado Ceasefire was SB21-256. This new law will allow cities, counties, special districts and public colleges and universities to prohibit guns in public buildings and specific areas under their jurisdiction.
As we noted in our last newsletter, the new law represents a major policy shift as concealed firearms can once again be regulated by local governments and prohibited on college campuses.
Colorado now becomes the 20th state in the nation to allow colleges to regulate weapons on campus.
Congratulations to Colorado Ceasefire and the other gun violence prevention groups that worked together for this public safety victory.
North Carolina-Sustain the Veto
Recently, both houses passed legislation (SB 43) that would allow a person with a concealed weapons permit to carry a firearm in a house of worship that has an associated school on its grounds. Current state law prohibits the carrying of concealed firearms in the above mentioned locations. Governor Cooper has vetoed SB 43 and we need your help.
We agree with our friends at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence that SB 43 puts school children, staff and visitors at increased risk and keeping guns out of educational spaces must remain sound public policy.
On June 1st, Governor Kate Brown signed SB 544, legislation that creates safe gun storage requirements and bans holders of concealed-handgun licenses from bringing firearms into the Oregon Capitol & Portland International Airport passenger terminal. With respect to educational environments, the new law makes significant changes in current law by allowing governing boards of school districts, community colleges and universities the option of barring firearms from their buildings and grounds.
Oregon now becomes the 21st in the nation to allow colleges to regulate weapons on campus. Congratulations to Ceasefire Oregon and the other gun violence prevention groups for your efforts.
A Montana district court judge extended a temporary order blocking implementation of HR 102 – a new law allowing guns on campus.
In May, the Montana Board of Regents voted unanimously to ask the state Supreme Court to block House Bill 102’s June 1 start date. The judge then issued an order allowing the stay to remain in effect for the duration of the case. The Campaign continues to monitor developments and work with our coalition partners in Montana.
SAVE THE DATE – Annual Benefit – Manhattanville College-10/15/21
The Campaign Comes Back To Campus the evening of October 15, 2021 when we will gather In-Person for our annual benefit at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, just north of NYC. Reid Castle, the iconic architectural centerpiece of their beautiful campus, will be the backdrop for our celebration of victories won along with updates on the battles still to be fought.