Photo: Oliver Contreras of Washington Post
Protestors and organizers of the Women’s March returned to the DC streets last week on a new mission to support the same cause. On Friday, July 14th, a 16 mile march was organized from the National Rifle Association headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, to the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. This demonstration was in protest of the NRA’s recruitment video, which according to the Women’s March, “Demonstrate not only a disregard for the lives of black and brown people in America, but appear to be a direct endorsement of violence against women, our families, and our communities for exercising our constitutional right to protest.” In response to the NRA’s recruitment video, Women’s March co-president Tamika Mallory responded with an open letter [quoted above]. In the open letter, Mallory also demanded for the NRA to be held accountable for failing to “make any statement defending the civil rights” of Philandro Castile, a 32 year old black man from Minnesota who was fatally shot and killed by a police officer at a traffic stop while carrying a legal firearm, which he told the officer about at the traffic stop. Jeronimo Yanez, the Minnesota police officer who shot Castile, was recently unacquainted of second-degree manslaughter on June 16. The protesters arrived at the NRA headquarters at 10 am Friday morning, and heard speeches from a range of advocates, including a Pulse nightclub shooting survivor and Philandro Castile’s mother. The protesters then embarked on their 16 mile march, taking pauses to stretch and eat lunch at Subway. A vigil/rally at the DOJ also took place Saturday morning, July 15th. While the march gained attention and visibility to the issues addressed, the fight for the NRA to hold accountability is still an uphill battle, with an ally in the White House and Republicans controlling both houses of Congress. However, the Women’s March’s demonstration is a reminder of the resistance we held one another accountable to the day after inauguration.
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