‘We are one human race, we are one people’: Advocates call on elected officials to end gun violence

August 15, 2019 /

Community members gathered Thursday in front of Representative Kevin McCarthy’s office rallying against his response to the recent mass shootings that shattered communities in the United States.

McCarthy blamed the shootings on video games that “dehumanize individuals” and encourage violence, while the Dolores Huerta Foundation blamed white supremacy, racism and lack of education touted by elected officials. 

“This whole thing about video games being the reason is so outrageous,” Dolores Huerta said at the press conference, put on by The Dolores Huerta Foundation, Women’s March Kern County and First And Always Melanin.

The Dolores Huerta Foundation referenced data provided by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation and NewZoo. The data shows there is no association between video game revenue per person and the number of violent gun deaths per 100,000 people.

The United States is the third leading country in video game revenue per person, behind Japan and South Korea, but has more than four times the amount of violent gun deaths per 100,000 people than the other top nine countries in video game revenue combined.

At the rally, advocates were calling on legislators to end gun violence and build safer communities by taking action to pass gun reform laws. Advocates were asking for policies that would ban assault weapons and require universal background checks.

Huerta also voiced her disappointment in McCarthy’s absence of refuting President Donald Trump’s “hateful” rhetoric and statements attacking people of color, which she said plays a factor in the mass shootings — not video games.  

“He has failed us as a leader,” Dolores Huerta said about McCarthy.

Within one week, 31 people combined were killed in two shootings — one in El Paso, Texas and the other in Dayton, Ohio. Although a motive has not been determined for the Dayton shooter, El Paso police say a racist, anti-immigrant document they believe was written by the suspect has a “nexus to a potential hate crime,” CNN reports. The four-page document touts white nationalist and racist views.

“I think it’s time to say to Kevin McCarthy, ‘we are calling upon you to finally do something about the epidemic of shootings we have in our communities, but at the same time, we know we cannot wait for Kevin,’” Huerta said. “We cannot wait for him to take the actions he needs to take.”

Huerta called upon the public and private institutions in Kern County to address the issues of racism, misogyny and homophobia as a way to reduce the risk of a mass shooting happening in Kern County.

“We are one human race. We are one people,” Huerta said “There is no reason why we should hate one another because of the color of our skin or because of our religion.” 

Other attendees added the need and importance for everyone to stand up and be civically engaged to change the ways people are being represented. 

“Everybody, register, and vote. That is the best remedy to counter racism, Trumpism, (and) McCarthyism in this generation,” community member Mary Helen Barro said. 

Director of the Bakersfield AIDs Project Audrey Chavez spoke about the current conditions in the United States. 

“We’re worried about walls, yet we have our children in cages,” Chavez said. “We have our people suffering and we are trying to blame it on a video game? That is sad and that is tragic.” 

“This is about our future, about our children and the discomforts they are feeling and us as a nation,” she continued. “Let us do what is humane, compassionate, and let us do something about these mass shootings. It is not okay.”

Bryana Lozoya

Bryana Lozoya is a youth reporter for South Kern Sol. Lozoya is student at Bakersfield College and writes for The Renegade Rip.