Before the Parkland Massacre and Now

Dr. E. Faye Williams

By Dr. E. Faye Williams

( —What happened in Parkland, FL is too horrible to ignore. Yet we’ve tolerated too many of all kinds of evils, including murders. Too many did nothing to stop more destruction of Native Americans and theft of their land, lynching and enslavement of Black people, slaughtering of people at Pulse Nightclub and in Las Vegas and elsewhere. Too many soon forgot the murdering of our children at Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook.

Now there is Douglas High School. How much more do we have to endure before sensible gun regulations are passed? I’m proud of the young people doing what they can to drive home the message that something must be done to stop all horrific acts. We hear that the Parkland young people are articulate and courageous. But what is it that keeps elected officials from being articulate and courageous?

As we again deal with tragedies and lament the horrific things happening to our people–especially with military style weapons– are we now ready to make gun regulation happen? After every tragedy, we hope something will be done, but nothing is done because money for re-election means more to too many of our leaders than the lives of human beings.

As we concern ourselves with what’s happened in each of these cases, I want to include all people and what our ancestors went through to vote, to enjoy basic human rights, to live free and safe. I want us to remember the young people who worked on civil rights and faced skin piercing fire hoses, were bitten by snarling dogs and jailed while fighting for basic human rights. I want us to remember all the other articulate and courageous people who suffered when they took the right action.

Let’s stop complaining about young people and what they do or don’t do. We must be there for them—and tell all of their stories and what they’ve gone through. Too many parents in my community have buried too many of their children because of the easy access to all kinds of guns without even a simple background check. As we deal with this latest gun tragedy, let’s include the good work and safety of all our people.

What’s happening in Florida, makes the case why all of us should be concerned about human rights for all and not wait until problems directly impact us before we’re ready to take action. Fannie Lou Hamer, Amelia Boynton, Jimmie Lee Jackson were articulate and courageous, too—even though they didn’t have the right to the kind of education that many young people have today.

Let’s strongly support the young people today. I’m crushed about what happened to their classmates and teachers. Many of us have worked to strengthen the rights of all to be safe. Like others, I’ve been burned by the unreasonableness of the NRA when I ran for Congress, but I’ll never give up trying to make America safe and fair for all. I’ll march. I’ll protest. I’ll resist evil, but let’s pray that all involved now don’t end the caring about all of us when the gun problem is resolved. Although we can never get back the lives lost, we can work together to save other lives.

Let’s care about fair voting rights, women’s rights, immigration justice, poverty and all the areas in which America still has work to do when it comes to love for the life and well-being of all human beings enough to work for their rights, too. As Al Green has said, “Let’s Stay Together” until America is safe, fair and great for all of us. Let us truly be there for the current courageous people on gun regulations because that’s an issue that affects all of us.

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