U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar and others expressed their gratitude for the new federal gun laws at a forum in north Minneapolis Thursday night, but the message included a reminder that more needs to be done. .
“This particular town hall is different,” Omar said, explaining that monthly rallies rarely focus on one or two issues. But for the first time in 30 years, “we were able to pass legislation to address gun violence in this country.”
In a nod to the mass shooting at a school in May in Uvalde, Texas, the Minnesota Democrat acknowledged that the legislative breakthrough “occurred because of the tragedy of the deaths of babies and that everyone everyone was saying more, it was too much for the people. Nevertheless, it was great progress . . . It’s progress we can build on.”
The Omar District includes all of Minneapolis, which continues to be plagued by gun violence and a rate of homicides this year that threatens to match or exceed last year’s number. There were 45 homicides in the city in the first half of this year. There were 97 in 2021.
The most visible participants among the hundred or so who came to the gymnasium at North High School were members of the citizen advocacy group A Mother’s Love, which regularly sends emissaries to serious and sometimes deadly crime scenes in the city.
About a dozen members of the group held large sheets of white paper with the names of Minneapolis homicide victims over the past decade, with asterisks next to George Floyd, Amir Locke and others killed by police these last years.
A Mother’s Love founder Lisa Clemons said: “We want recognition no matter who the ball comes from. The pain is the same.”
Panelist Sasha Cotton, director of the city’s Office of Violence Prevention, said work to address urban violence shouldn’t just focus on gun safety legislation, which she acknowledged as encouraging.
Cotton stressed the need for more investment in health care, affordable housing and civic groups trying to make their communities safer.
“We have to put everything on the table to save our babies,” she said.
Omar began by expressing outrage at the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that granted women the right to abortion. She expressed her support for the creation of an ethical standard for judges and encouraged the removal of judges if necessary. Omar also reiterated his call for an end to US Senate filibuster rules.
“We know this decision will fall hardest on the most vulnerable, like women who have been abused, who are victims of incest, who have been raped, those who are already struggling to put food on the table.” , she said. “Fortunately, in Minnesota, abortion remains legal.”
One of Omar’s opponents in the congressional race, Don Samuels, released a statement as his town hall continued, saying abortion rights are “among the many things Rep. Omar and I are dissenting on.” ‘OK”. [as well as] tighten our gun violence laws.”
However, the statement continues, Samuels said he sees Omar as “a national leader in funding the police movement. Instead, I will work with my colleagues and local leaders to meet the twin challenges of increasing accountability for policing and rebuilding the officer ranks with high-quality individuals who strive to serve communities as officers – a challenge facing our city and many others across the country.”