On Wednesday night, the Women’s March organizers published an open letter in response to a recent video advertisement from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The video, published to the NRA’s Facebook page on June 12, features conservative talk-show host Dana Loesch describing the recent resistance to President Donald Trump as violent and, because of this violence, people should support the NRA.
Throughout the one-minute video, Loesch uses an “us versus them” narrative to promote the NRA’s false claim that protestors ― mainly people of color and women ― are violent. According to the video, the only way to quell this supposed violence is to meet it with more violence by buying a gun.
“They use their schools to teach their children that their president is another Hitler,” Loesch says in the video below, using “they” to refer to protestors and people that oppose Trump. ”...And then they use their ex-president to endorse the resistance. All to make them march, make them protest, make them scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia, to smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law abiding.”
Watch the full video below.
This is not the first inflammatory video that Loesch has narrated for the NRA. Last year, the conservative talk-show host starred in a similar advertisement that quite literally promoted more women owning guns in order to end domestic violence and sexual assault.
Although the video was posted earlier in June, it resurfaced on social model yesterday. Many Twitter users and Facebook commenters were appalled by the video.
“This NRA ad is an open call to violence to protect white supremacy,” civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson tweeted. “If I made a video like this, I’d be in jail.”
Many activists, including Women’s March organizer Tamika Mallory, tweeted their outrage over the NRA ad.
On Wednesday night, Mallory posted an open letter on behalf of the Women’s March organization to Wayne LaPierre, the Executive Vice President of the NRA.
In her letter, posted on Facebook, Mallory asks LaPierre to remove the “dangerous propaganda” video, issue an apology to the American people and make a statement defending Philando Castile’s Second Amendment right to carry a gun.
Castile ― a black man who was shot and killed last year by a police officer in Minnesota during a routine traffic stop ― was a gun owner who had a licensed gun on him during the traffic stop. The 32-year-old who worked at a local school made it clear to the officer that he had a gun on him and was licensed to carry it. The officer who killed Castile was recently found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.
“You are responsible for an organization that claims to be the ‘oldest civil rights organization in America,’” Mallory wrote. “However your recent actions by the NRA demonstrate not only a complete disregard for the lives of black and brown people in America — your fellow citizens — but appear to be a direct endorsement of violence against these citizens exercising their constitutional right to protest.”
Mallory wrote that it is “unconscionable” for an organization like the NRA to “peddle and ‘us versus them’ narrative.”
″You are calling for our grassroots, nonviolent resistance movement to be met with violence,” she wrote.
Read the Women’s March post below or scroll farther down to read the letter in full.
Read the letter in full below:
Dear Mr. LaPierre,
You are responsible for an organization that claims to be the “oldest civil rights organization in America.” However your recent actions by the NRA demonstrate not only a complete disregard for the lives of black and brown people in America — your fellow citizens — but appear to be a direct endorsement of violence against these citizens exercising their constitutional right to protest.
In light of this, we call on the NRA to take the following actions:
Immediately remove the recent and dangerous propaganda videos narrated by conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch.
Issue an apology to the American people for the video you sponsored, which bears your name and logo, as it suggests armed violence against communities of color, progressives and anyone who does not agree with this Administration’s policies.
Make a statement to defend Philando Castile’s right as a gun owner and demand the Department of Justice indict the police officer who killed him for violating his Second Amendment rights. This call is clearly in line with the mission and purpose of the NRA as an organization that purports to be the lobby and defender of the right to bear arms.
Mr. LaPierre, before the Second Amendment was the First Amendment.
The advertisement released by the NRA is a direct attack on people color, progressives and anyone who exercises their First Amendment right to protest. At a time when our nation is seeing a rise in racially charged incidents and violence motivated by hate speech, it is unconscionable for a powerful organization like yours to unashamedly peddle an “us versus them” narrative. You are calling for our grassroots, nonviolent resistance movement to be met with violence.
Friday, June 30, will mark two weeks since Officer Yanez was acquitted for shooting and killing Philando Castile in Minnesota. In that time, the NRA has failed to make any statement defending the civil rights of Mr. Castile, a law-abiding gun owner who can be heard in the video footage clearly notifying the office that he was carrying a licensed firearm.
Your organization claims to stand for the second Amendment rights of all Americans, but instead of affirming Mr. Castile’s constitutional right to carry his gun, you released this vicious and incendiary video calling for armed conflict.
As a black woman, as a mother, as someone directly impacted by gun violence, as an American citizen, I am traumatized and alarmed, and so are my sisters and siblings who are part of the Women’s March. It is clear that your organization does not value the constitutional rights nor the human rights of any of us . Unless the NRA takes immediate action, the Women’s March will exercise our First Amendment rights by calling for a mass mobilization.
We will not be intimated into silence.
Tamika D. Mallory, Co-President, Women’s March Inc.