April 22, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

‘Reduce gun violence’ volunteers in final weekend push to qualify for November ballot

5 min read

Marilyn Keller: Stony the road we trod, bitter the chast’ning rod, felt in the days when hope unborn had died…

John Q: An initiative to reduce gun violence heads to the finish line. Organizers say it is on track to qualify for the November ballot. At the last weekly press event for Lift Every Voice Oregon, Joe Paterno.

[00:00:32] Joe Paterno: My name is Joe Paterno and I work with the field team, and I get the fun part. I get to give you numbers this morning. I love doing that.

[00:00:40] Today we stand at 115,000 signatures gathered, so, yes, over the top (applause). The baseline that is required is 112,020 and see we’re over that. But our goal is to reach 140,000, so we want to get to that point in the next week.

[00:01:04] Presently each day we’re taking in about 3,500 or more new signatures. So if my math is correct, if we even got conservative—3,000 a day times seven days—is another 21,000. It would bring us close to that goal of 140,000. So we are well on our way, and that will give us that buffer that we need for validity’s sake to reach the baseline of 112 (thousand).

[00:01:29] John Q: He asked the volunteers for one last push this weekend.

[00:01:32] Joe Paterno: This weekend, our volunteers are doing what we call ‘Sprint to the Finish.’ We’re asking them to sprint to the finish line.

[00:01:41] Rabbi Michael Cahana: Rabbi Michael Cahana. We have been hearing from so many people because we all recognize that there is an epidemic of gun violence in our nation, in our state, and in our city. And so many of us have felt discouraged, feeling like this is just going to keep on happening, there’s nothing that can change. We’re hearing this nationally. We’re hearing it locally.

[00:02:06] Lift Every Voice Oregon was founded to say: We do not need to be helpless. We do not need to be hopeless. And today we are announcing that we are ready to go, that we are ready to make a difference. And that’s only because the people of Oregon have stood up and refused to stand idly by while our neighbors, while our children are bleeding.

[00:02:30] John Q: The initiative would require background checks and a gun safety class before purchase. It would also ban magazines with more than 10 rounds.

[00:02:40] Rabbi Michael Cahana: It is amazing what people can do together, when we stand together. We are standing against hopelessness. We are standing against complacency. We’re standing against that movement that wants to support the status quo, the status quo that is putting more and more and more guns onto the street and making it easier and easier for people who shouldn’t have those guns to have access to weapons of war.

[00:03:06] We’re making a difference. We’re standing up and we’re saying reasonable, understandable legislation can help protect our students, our teachers, people in religious institutions, people in shopping malls, people in movie theaters, wherever we are, we need to be safer against this epidemic of gun violence.

[00:03:27] IP-17 is a first and very important step towards making us all safer.

[00:03:35] Rev. Dr. Mark Knutson: My name is Rev. Dr. Mark Knutson, chair of Lift Every Voice Oregon.

[00:03:39] I just want you to know we are passing a milestone and now we are on the home stretch to next Friday, to take all of these (applause). So here we go. People said it couldn’t be done. I don’t—we can’t tell you how many said, ‘What? A group of volunteers and faith leaders and people of goodwill? They don’t know how to run campaigns and you have no chance.’

[00:04:02] Did you realize there’s only two initiative petitions that are going to make it to the ballot from the people this year? One had a couple million dollars behind it to not have people walk out of the legislative session. The other one is this IP-17. Those are the only two. And this one was volunteers and contributions from everyday people to make it happen. No big money from someplace else. It was all people right here in this state in every county and volunteers.

[00:04:25] John Q: He said this effort from the faith community will continue to grow.

[00:04:28] Rev. Dr. Mark Knutson: Imagine this in terms of a bellwether for the nation: From November to March, we could pass the most comprehensive legislation in the nation, when nobody else is able to do that right now. So this is going to create a wave, a surfing wave that we can ride across the country together and see real change start to happen, because people need micro-examples out of one place to do the macro changes. That’s always how you get things done. So it’s coming out of a synagogue, a church basement, a temple, so many places, and good people of goodwill.

[00:04:57] Marilyn Keller: My job is to create the vibrations that bring us all together, that melt hardened hearts, and open closed minds.

[00:05:08] John Q: Marilyn led the second verse of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing.’

[00:05:11] Marilyn Keller: ‘We have come over a way that with tears has been watered. We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, Out from a gloomy past, Till now we stand at last Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

[00:05:53] Thank you. We are standing— (applause). We are standing in a gleam of light that is shining from the past, from the present, from the future. Our ancestors worked so very, very hard so that we could all stand here together shoulder-to-shoulder to try and amend the system that has been killing us for so long. And now it is time for us to use our voices. It is time for us to use our words.

[00:06:31] I’m calling on all the artists of the Northwest and soon across the country and across the world to lend us your talents, lend us your abilities because this campaign is just beginning. We are in the beginning stages of a rise towards victory. We’re standing on a precipice and we will rise. We’ll take this leap of faith and we will rise into the passing of this ballot measure.

[00:06:58] What I’m asking right now is that you get in contact through our website, Lift Every Voice Oregon.com— not only sign the petition, endorse this movement and donate— donate time, donate money. There’s never been a grassroots movement that’s made it without donations, without like kind and monetary donations.

[00:07:21] So we’re asking right now to please step up with this giving, because we know right now that we have the opportunity to begin a wave that will sweep the country and begin to pass laws and pass amendments to the laws that are standing that will make them more common sense, that will close the loopholes and the gaps that have made it possible for 17- and 18-year-olds to go out and purchase military-style weaponry and go and wreak havoc upon communities.

[00:07:52] So right now, if you are within the sound of my voice, please get up. Do what you know is necessary.

[00:08:00] John Q: IP-17 volunteers sprint to the finish.

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