03/28/2023 By Meghan O’Brien
Hundreds of protesters gathered on the National Mall on Friday to support the “Generation Lockdown: Made in America” rally against assault weapons. Organized by Fordham University student and Newtown Action Alliance advocate Jordan Gomes, the rally aimed to hold the Senate accountable by urging them to pass S. 42, also known as the Background Check Expansion Act.
The organizers were joined by notable politicians, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Rep. Maxwell Frost of Florida, activist and the first Gen-Z member of Congress.
The rally followed a House hearing held the day before, in which Manuel Oliver, activist and father of Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver, was removed from the room and arrested after speaking out in protest against Texas Rep. Pat Fallon’s comments on gun regulation.
“The chair should’ve given a warning. He (Fallon) completely escalated the situation,” said Frost in a tweet on Thursday following the hearing events.
Manuel and Patrica Oliver attended the rally on Friday, bringing a canvas with them. The couple encouraged attendees to take their shoes and socks off and use paint to march over the canvas to create art in honor of their son as well as all those who have lost their lives to gun violence.
“We will continue to march,” said Manuel Oliver. “We will march and march for our lives and we will keep on doing that until there is no reason to march.”
With 647 recorded mass shootings, 2022 was the second-highest year of mass shootings in the United States. Only nine out of the 50 states, including Washington DC, have banned assault weapons.