by Brian Washington/Photo by Pete Souza
When President Barack Obama told a crowd in Minneapolis this week that the only way to reduce gun violence is by the American people deciding this issue is a priority, Lucia Baez, a classroom teacher in Florida who viewed the speech Monday on the internet, took his words to heart.
Baez, who teaches at Miami Beach Senior High School, said she was charged with an immediate sense of responsibility and duty to help the president on this issue for a number of reasons. First and foremost, she believes every child should attend schools that are safe and secure learning environments. But also, Baez actively worked to re-elect President Obama — serving as an education activist and campaign spokesperson — and believes in his vision for America and our public schools.
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“President Obama is making a call for all of us, as Americans, to gather around this issue because it is so important for our students — the nation’s future,” said Baez. “And for me, it’s not just about gun violence. I want our students to be able to attend schools that are free of violence in any form.”
The president, while standing in front of a wall of law enforcement officers at the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations Center, encouraged citizens to stand up and demand that lawmakers pass sensible gun legislation. He also used the event to again outline his plan, which includes closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands, banning military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines, making schools safer, and increasing access to mental health services.
“The only way we can reduce gun violence in this country is if the American people decide it’s important,” said the president. “If you decide it’s important. If parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, hunters and sportsmen, Americans of every background stand up and say this time it’s got to be different— we’ve suffered too much pain to stand by and do nothing.“
Baez is willing to do her part.
“This is a very easy issue to get behind the president,” said Baez. “By urging Congress to help make our schools safe and secure for students, we are declaring as a country that we want to get this right for our future generations.”
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