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Gun Violence: What Do We Tell Our Children?

Activists rally against gun violence in New York (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Activists rally against gun violence in New York (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Rev. Al Sharpton writes in a piece for the Huffington Post that it's up to each and every one of us to show more courage than the 46 political cowards in the U.S. Senate.

Almost every single day, someone walks into one of National Action Network's (NAN) offices around the country consumed with the most unbelievable pain you can ever imagine. They seek our assistance, our guidance and a sense of hope after their lives have been shattered by gun violence. Crying mothers, fathers, grandparents, teenagers and children all have entered our doors — their eyes swelling from the endless flow of tears and their hearts heavy with pain. They come to us because they can't understand how an innocent person's life can be cut short by such violence, and how so many guns are readily available everywhere we look. As we teach our youth to put the weapons down and better their lives, what are we to tell them when so many in Washington have failed us so cowardly? If the Senate cannot even pass a compromised agreement on background checks for gun sales, then what are we to tell our children? What are we to tell young folks who grow up in some of the toughest environments possible, but have vowed to live a life of nonviolence? Guess we will start with the simple fact that many of our elected officials don't even possess half the bravery that they do.

Growing up in Brooklyn, NY isn't for the weak. From an early age, we're exposed to more than the average person might be in his or her entire life. I came up in the hood. But I also managed to ensure that I didn't succumb to many of the negative forces that are often thriving in the environment. So today, when I speak at rallies, preach at churches and stand on the street corners of America telling young people there is a better way, I want to show them that it is truly possible. But how can I look them in the eyes and say that the nation is behind them when so many caved into pressure and lies from groups like the NRA? …


Read the Rev. Al Sharpton's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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