Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Representing the 12th District of California

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Pelosi Remarks at ‘Lighting the Way’ National Speak Out: The Path Forward on Gun Violence

Jul 14, 2016
Press Release

Contact: Drew Hammill/Caroline Behringer, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today at ‘Lighting the Way’ National Speak Out: The Path Forward on Gun Violence.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“Good evening, everyone.  Thank you for being here to light the way to disarm hate.  It is an honor to be here with each and every one of you, to be comforted by the words of the invocation, to be led by Mr. Clyburn, sharing the grief of his state with the nation, leading us in this beautiful ceremony this evening inspired by our colleague, a national icon, a global hero, [Congressman] John Lewis.


“We are here outside on a day when we are supposed to be in the session of Congress and in session tomorrow.  But the Majority in Congress has decided they had more important things to do than to save lives.  They decided that they would not pass, give us a vote on preventing gun violence – instead, they would go home.  We have a message to them: we will never stop until we have a successful vote to say ‘No Fly, No Buy’ and to enhance our gun violence prevention laws in a number of ways – two in particular: ‘No Fly, No Buy’ and background checks.


“I say to you that we are here, really, my colleagues and I – it’s an honor to be here with all of them.  They have had events in Washington, in the Capitol, across the country, in their districts.  They are all committed to the pledge: we will not stop until we succeed in passing the legislation.  So I thank my colleagues for their leadership.  You’ll be hearing from more of them.


“So often, we hear the quote about Martin Luther King saying that he dreamed of a nation where his children would be judged not by the color of their skin but of the content of their character.  If we apply that test to the American people, they come up very strong because we are a nation of people based on values, compassion and courage.  But that same measure does not apply to the leadership in the Congress of the United States when it comes to respecting the dignity and worth and lives of every person in our country.  There is no compassion, their judgments are not values-based and they do not have courage.  They think their political survival is more important than the survival of young children, or people gathered in church, your young people gathered on a Saturday night, or people in a movie theater across the country. 


“Again, we must all of us be judged by that. 

“Beautiful Mr. Lewis always tells us and reminds us that we all have a spark of divinity in us.  All the people we care about are made in the image and likeness of God.  And I say to my colleagues in the Congress, the leadership: you, too, have a spark of divinity.  Act upon it.  Act upon it, in respect for the dignity and worth of every person in our country.


“So tonight, we’re going to hear a little bit from Members of Congress – [and] a whole lot more from people whose families have suffered through this.  We make a pledge to them, as we not only listen to what they have to say – we hear what they have to say, and we will act upon it.  They have acted upon their grief, to turn their grief into action, so that other people will not suffer. 

“We join them tonight, not just, as I say, to listen, but to hear, to listen, and learn as we listen – so that we can make sure that we use their voices to make change in the Congress of the United States, so that Congress will have the courage, the compassion and the values to pass the legislation that will save lives.

“And with that, I am pleased to thank all of you for coming, and yield to and thank our distinguished Assistant Leader for calling us all here together.  He is champion on this issue.  He is a champion on saying to these people: Why aren’t you funding Zika, so we that can protect lives of people subjected to that?  Why aren’t you doing money for opioids, so we can address that concern in a meaningful way?  Why aren’t you thinking of the children of Flint, Michigan, who also need our attention?  What do you have to do that is more important than that, that you had to go home?  A person who is keeping us here until the job is done, our distinguished Assistant Leader, Mr. Clyburn – of South Carolina, he’s proud to say – Mr. Clyburn.”

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