Shortly after the Thousand Oaks, Calif., mass shooting in November, Toms founder Blake Mycoskie launched the End Gun Violence Together campaign with a $5 million pledge — the single largest corporate gift to end gun violence.
“It’s hard to believe that 93 days ago, a simple phone call from my wife has led to this,” he said. “Heather called me because there was a shooting in Thousand Oaks just 15 minutes from our house. She told me that she was not going to take our son to preschool that day because she was scared… There are thousands, if not millions, of other Americans that are also feeling scared.”
Along with activists, volunteers and local figures, the Toms team has traveled across the country, with stops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh. Today, Mycoskie hosted a rally in Washington, D.C., that brought out hundreds in support of universal background checks.
The tour, which started on Jan. 23, culminates tomorrow in the U.S. Capitol, where Mycoskie and gun safety advocates will deliver more than 700,000 signed postcards to members of Congress.
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“In Washington, we have some of the strongest gun laws in the nation, but we know that’s not enough because guns can travel across state lines,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser, who took the podium before introducing Mycoskie. “We are proud and eager to support universal background checks for every gun purchased. We know that convenience is never more important than a human life.”
Among the notable guests to take the stage were rapper Vic Mensa; poet Cleo Wade; Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.; March for Our Lives chief strategist Matt Deitsch; and Change the Ref’s Manuel Oliver, who lost his son Joaquin at the Parkland school shooting almost a year ago and painted a postcard based on a note written by his son six years ago.
“God, I’m tired,” Oliver told the emotional crowd, “but it’s worth it.”
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