July 10, 2008 20:08 ET

Rush to Launch National Effort to Develop a 'Can Do' Resolve to Address the Plague of Gun Violence

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - July 10, 2008) - This Friday, July 11, 2008 at a rooftop gathering in Washington, D.C., eight-term U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush is joining with ROOT, Inc., a non-profit activist organization (Kenneth E. Barnes, Sr., MS, Founder/CEO), to launch a nationwide organizing campaign to provide federal resources to strengthen local community efforts to stem the unprecedented wave of gun-related violence that continues to plague our country. The event, to be held on the Rooftop of The Ellington (1301 U Street, NW) in the nation's capital, will assemble local and national business and community leaders to support Rush's effort to enact the "Communities in Action Neighborhood Defense and Opportunity Act" (CAN DO), a grassroots-inspired piece of legislation that will provide law enforcement and intervention resources in a manner designed to reduce the killing. Rush's CBC colleague, the Honorable Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton, will be a special guest speaker.

"Today, through our collective sense of community -- whether in urban enclaves like the one I represent on the South Side of Chicago or in quiet, rural, towns like Weleetka, Oklahoma where two young girls were recently killed by a random assailant -- too many Americans are dying at the hands of a perpetrator armed with a gun," said Rush.

"The gun death toll in America exceeds that of what's occurring in Iraq. An average of 45 people die each and every day, in our country, from a firearm -- regardless of race, class or culture. I believe that a nation as prosperous as ours must do better. That's what the CAN DO bill is all about," Rush added.

The CAN DO bill is a targeted attempt to change attitudes and behaviors toward gun violence by bringing together entire communities to address systemic factors that lead to violence and to, specifically, make rampant gun violence unacceptable in local communities. CAN DO calls for a four-pronged attack on gun violence in some of the worst, crime-plagued communities in the United States. Specifically, the bill:

--  enhances law enforcement by targeting the most violent criminals
--  increases funding for mental health and psychological counseling
--  funds employment training and opportunity; and
--  provides educational and recreational services for at-risk youth.

In addition to authoring H. R. 2666, known as "Blair's Bill," a common sense measure that proposes a uniform registry of all firearms, since February 7, 2008, on virtually every day the House has been in session, Rush has entered a series of "Daily 45" one-minute floor statements that decry the latest incident of gun-related homicide while expressing remorse for the victims and their families. CAN DO and the effort that Rep. Rush and community activists plan to mount in the coming months represents the next step in Rush's ongoing commitment to get the nation to address an issue that is decimating American communities.

Contact Information


    Sharon Jenkins
    (202) 225-4372 ofc.
    (202) 431-8191 mobile
    Email Contact

    Priscilla Clarke for ROOT, Inc.
    (202) 723-2200 ofc.
    (240) 476-9643 mobile
    Email Contact