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Last week on Valentine's Day, held an event in a DC church that included MomsRising staff members -- I gave a speech in Spanish! -- a performance by the World Children's Choir, and speeches by victims of gun violence. A staff member of Gabby Giffords, who was shot twice in Tucson and survived, talked about what could have been of the 9-year-old killed during the shooting. A similar, moving speech was given by the mother whose daughter was shot a couple of times in Virginia Tech, and thankfully, survived. I had to will myself to hold back the tears.

Without further ado, here is an English translation of the speech that I gave in Spanish:

When I first heard about the Sandy Hook shootings, I was inside a church watching the holiday performance of my 5-year-old daughter, Elisandra. I couldn’t stop reading the news about the tragedy on my phone and discussing it with my husband and the parents around me. I could not get the images of those children – children of Elisandra’s age – during their last moments of life. I couldn’t imagine the profound pain of their parents.

Today, all I know is that as a community, we must do better protecting our families.

At MomsRising, we continuously hear from our more than one million members, from all different backgrounds, about the need to stand up for the safety of our families.

As a Latina mom, I personally see how gun violence affects my community. It’s outrageous how easy it is for our youth to get a gun. This cannot continue to happen. And that’s why I’m here today.

The good thing is that I’m not the only mom reflecting on a daily basis on how to protect our children.

The fact is that Latinos are more likely than any other ethnic or racial group to support common sense gun violence prevention measures. And as we proved in the last presidential election, Latinos are also a strong voting bloc.

Therefore, dear and respected Members of Congress, pay attention to what we are demanding. The majority of Latinos want you to work to end gun violence. We moms want you to pass legislation that will protect our families.

It’s a fact. Women and the Latino community have come together to lead the call for passage of effective gun control legislation that would put families’ safety at the forefront. That’s why we are in our nation’s capital today and will keep coming back until Congress takes action to do the right thing.

It’s time to mandate universal background checks for all gun purchasers, to reinstate the ban on assault weapons, to ban high capacity magazines, and to stop the illegal interstate and international gun sales.

I don’t ever want to see, hear or read another news report about our children being gunned down. I don’t want to militarize our schools by installing guards with semi-automatic military-style weapons.
As a community of moms, we have the responsibility of pushing our legislators to protect our families.

Let’s end the gun violence, let’s put our families at the forefront.

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