The Interfaith Council of Alameda County is adamantly opposed to the hateful climate that’s surfaced in our great country in recent weeks. In the days between July 28 and August 4, 2019, thirty-two people were killed, and sixty people were wounded by gunfire from semi-automatic, assault style rifles in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. In 2019 there have been 255 mass shootings, resulting in 273 deaths in the United States of America.*
In response to this evil, statements of denunciation have been issued, assurances of concern have been delivered, prayers for grief and petitions for comfort have been offered and policy suggestions have been made. Still, the killings continue. Still, families are ripped apart. Still, communities are torn asunder. Still, prayers of grief are offered. Still, petitions for comfort are lifted. Still, hateful rhetoric flows from the seats of power. Still, powerful guns and the bullets they fire are readily available for purchase.
As members of the faith communities of Alameda County, as members of families who have seen our young people die from gun violence, we once again raise our voices in outrage and lament. We are outraged by the notion that nothing can be done. We are outraged by the hateful language directed toward immigrants, people of color and adherents of religions not our own. We are broken by the loss of the life. We grieve with those who grieve. The river of tears that flows touches at the deepest of levels.
Yet, we are hopeful. We are hopeful that in the name of faith, hope and justice people will come together. We are hopeful that words of hate will be rejected and refuted. We are hopeful that legislation intended to reduce the gun violence will be enacted. Specifically, we urge the United States Senate to immediately join the House of Representatives in passing the 2019 Background Check Act and the President to reenact the 1994 assault weapons ban that will remove military style, high capacity semi-automatic weapons from civilian use.
We stand ready to work for all who work for the common good. May our faith help us build the Beloved Community,
*According to Gun Violence Archive as reported by the Huffpost, Aug. 5, 2019. (The GVA defines a mass shooting as any incident in which at least four people were shot, excluding the shooter.) This puts 2019 on pace to be the first year since 2016 with an average of more than one mass shooting a day. (CBS News, Aug. 5)