67: The Million Mom March — Continuing its Legacy 20 Years Later
20 years ago, on May 14, 2000, downtown Washington D.C. watched as the Million Mom March became the largest non-violent protest in the history of the National Mall, birthplace of many of the nation's greatest political demonstrations. Over 750,000 people, the majority of them women, came together on that Sunday to call for the end of gun violence, and across the country many thousands more gathered in smaller — but no less spirited — groups, bringing the total number of participants into seven figures and making the Million Mom March true to its name.
The March's call to action did not end after the crowds had dispersed and quiet settled over the Mall. The next morning, thousands of demonstrators woke up, took their showers, drank their coffee, read their papers — and then, without giving a moment's thought to resting on their laurels, they went about continuing what they'd began. In the 20 years since, Marchers have carried across the country the torch of activism they lit that Sunday afternoon as they stood, unified and purposeful, in the shadow of the nation's monuments to its greatest people and events, and wherever the Marchers have brought that torch — to counties, to states, to the halls of Congress — they have helped bring to pass gun safety laws ensuring that tomorrow will be safer than today.
In 2001, the Million Mom March merged with Brady, and the work the Marchers began continued to grow and be realized as they labored alongside Jim and Sarah Brady's activists to end the public health epidemic that is gun violence. The two groups became one, and as one they worked tirelessly to reduce — from 21 to zero — the number of children and adults shot each day in American cities and towns.
In this episode celebrating the 20th anniversary of the March, our host JJ welcomes three women to the show who are each as knowledgeable about gun violence prevention as they are committed to its ideals: Kris Brown, Brady's president, who was a participant of the Million Mom March; Dana Sanchez-Quist, a member of the Brady State Executive Committee; Shikha Hamilton, Brady National Chapter Organizing and Chapter Development Manager; and Donna Dees-Thomases, visionary founder of the Million Mom March and the dream of a safer future that it continues to represent.
Mentioned in this podcast: