Tony Bennett, 17 time Grammy Award Winner, and Activist Al Sharpton joined New York Voices Against Gun Violence and a broad, newly-formed coalition of advocates, victims, youth organizations, healthcare workers, unions, elected officials, faith leaders and artists in a rally last Thursday, March 21, to promote the NY SAFE Act as a model for legislation at the federal level and in other states.
A procession in memory of the victims lost to gun violence began on 124th Street near Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., and moved through the gathering toward the rally stage at Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and 125th Street. The procession and the rally focused attention on the human toll of gun violence that has been plaguing our nation on a daily basis. The coalition included prominent gun violence prevention groups such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the Brady Campaign, Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.
The coalition strongly supports the NY SAFE Act’s common sense protections, such as mental health and criminal background checks, tougher restrictions on assault weapons, limits on high-capacity ammunition and measures to keep guns out of schools. The NY SAFE Act, which was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in January, was
designed to prevent the kinds of mass shootings plaguing our nation such as the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 20 children and six adults were killed. The Act will also help reduce the gun violence that has devastated families and communities in New York’s urban centers. There is new urgency to defend the NY SAFE Act as big weapons companies and the gun lobbies have tried to build opposition and challenges to the law.