Community members gathered at West Palm Beach City Hall on Thursday for a sit-in in support of two gun control bills in the House of Representatives. Congresswoman Lois Frankel organized the event after participating in a sit-in last week on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
The two bills Frankel is fighting for are what she calls “common sense” measures to reduce gun violence. One of the bills would bar terror suspects from obtaining firearms, and the other would close loopholes that allow people to buy guns online and at gun shows without background checks.
“These kinds of legislation affects people all over the country and especially here in South Florida,” said Frankel at the end of the sit-in.
Among the speakers at the sit-in were family members of victims of gun violence in the West Palm Beach area, and in a powerful moment, Patricia Fadina, Lina Ortiz, and Angela LaToya Williams read the names of their loved ones’ out loud.
“Tyree LaTodd Wilder. Michael Ortiz. My nephew Tory Danell Manuel," they each said one after the other.
Behind the speakers there was a photo of the victims of the shooting in Orlando, and Frankel and other speakers frequently alluded to the importance of protecting LGBTQ community spaces.
At the end of the event, people joined hands and sang ‘We Shall Overcome,' with certain lyrics changed to 'The NRA must go,' in reference to the National Rifle Association.