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Joyce B.
Democrat OH 3

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  • Congressional Black Caucus

    by Representative Joyce Beatty

    Posted on 2016-01-11

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    BEATTY. Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening proud to stand with my Congressional Black Caucus Special Order hour co-anchor, Congressman Jeffries, from the Eighth Congressional District of New York.

    Mr. Jeffries, it is my honor to stand here today as we undertake an urgent dialogue on how we, as elected Representatives of the people, can work together to end gun violence.

    I look forward to engaging with Congressman Jeffries and our Congressional Black Caucus colleagues in scholarly debate on the issues plaguing African Americans, African American communities, and to develop solutions to the problems our constituents face.

    As the conscience of the Congress, the Congressional Black Caucus will remain on the forefront of issues that affect Black Americans in particular, and the Nation, in general. For tonight, our anchor, Congressman Jeffries, has pointed out the CBC will continue to shed light on the epidemic of gun violence, standing our ground, ending gun violence in America.

    Mr. Speaker, last week we opened the Second Session of the 114th Congress. Four hundred thirty-five of us traveled back to Washington ready to serve our constituents and work for the betterment of our Nation.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, whatever spirit of bipartisanship may have been present at the end of 2015 as Republicans and Democrats worked together on key pieces of legislation has disappeared at the precise time our Nation is calling on Congress to pass commonsense legislation to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

    We find ourselves confronted with startling statistics that no Nation should endure. Let me just take a moment to share just a few.

    We know that the impact of gun violence affects every community and every congressional district. However, African American children and teens are 17 times more likely to die from gun homicide than White youth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    While African Americans make up 15 percent of youth in America, African Americans accounted for 45 percent of children and teen gun deaths in 2010.

    According to Everytown for Gun Safety, 88 Americans die every day from gun violence, Mr. Speaker. Roughly 50 percent of those killed are African American men, who comprise just 6 percent of the population. Homicide is the primary cause of death among African Americans ages 15- 24.

    Mr. Speaker, these numbers should be unthinkable, unimaginable, but they are the unfortunate reality in which African American communities live. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, whose legacy we honor next Monday, he said: We find ourselves ``confronted with the fierce urgency of now.'' And Mr. Speaker, it is now that our Nation is in an urgent crisis, yet we are trapped in congressional inaction. Shameful.

    So our President decided he would not stand by idly while Congress did nothing to prevent another Newtown, another Charleston, other Tucson. With tears in his eyes, he reflected on the senseless killings caused by gun violence over the course of his administration. President Obama announced new executive actions to confront the epidemic of gun violence in America.

    While mocked by some Republicans for showing emotion at the loss of so many lives, I am here to say I proudly stand with my President on the actions he has taken to prevent gun violence in America.

    These executive actions will save lives and make the country safer without infringing on law-abiding individuals' rights to firearms.

    You will hear from our colleagues tonight talking about the President's actions. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and to address gun violence.

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