By Alexa Spencer,
Word In Black
When Quavo headed to the White House on Sept. 22, there’s no doubt the Migos rapper wished he was there for a happier reason.
But in Nov. 2022, Takeoff — his nephew and fellow group member — was shot and killed during an altercation at a Houston bowling alley. Now Quavo, who witnessed the shooting, is putting his efforts into supporting the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention to address the nation’s gun violence epidemic.
Accompanied by his mom and his sister Titania Davenport, Takeoff’s mother, Quavo talked about dealing with the pain of losing his nephew, and the pressure on young Black men to buy into gun culture.
“I feel like it’s just so hard for us to say we hurting, or to say I want change, or to say I am coming to the White House and trying to get a gun law act,” he told Vice President Kamala Harris.
There’s no freedom without safety
The new federal office, announced on Sept. 22 by President Joe Biden, will be overseen by Harris, a former prosecutor and state attorney general who’s been vocal about banning assault weapons and implementing universal background checks.
“We know true freedom is not possible if people are not safe,” Harris said in a statement. “This epidemic of gun violence requires urgent leadership to end the fear and trauma that Americans experience every day.”
Harris’ vision where “every community” has the “freedom to live and to thrive” is not yet a reality for Americans — especially Black Americans, who are disproportionately impacted by gun violence.
Compared to White Americans, Black Americans experience 12 times the gun homicides, 18 times the gun assault injuries, and nearly three times the fatal shootings by police, according to Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund.
Targeted by White Supremacist Terrorism
The community has also been a target for racially-motivated mass shootings in recent years: leaving nine dead at a church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, 10 at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in 2022, and three at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida in August.
“Gun violence has no boundaries,” Lucy McBath, a congresswoman for Georgia’s 7th congressional district, said at the White House on Sept. 22.
McBath’s son, 17-year-old Jordan Davis, was fatally shot by a White man at a Jacksonville gas station in 2012 after an argument about loud music.
“The historic creation of the office of gun violence prevention marks a new era in the fight to keep us all safe,” McBath said. “The office will increase coordination between states and ensure proper implementation of the gun safety legislation that we have already passed in Congress.”
Guns are killing American children
Firearms have risen to a leading cause of death for children, a reality that Justin Jones, a Tennessee House representative, knows all too well.
Jones was expelled by the state legislature in March for protesting gun violence on the House floor after a Nashville school shooting took the lives of three elementary students and three adults.
He calls the Office of Gun Violence Prevention a “great victory.”
“We know that in our nation, gun violence is the leading cause of death for children,” Jones said in a video on X. “Just like FEMA responds to natural emergencies like hurricanes and tornadoes, this office is an emergency response to a crisis of gun violence that we are facing as a nation where we’ve had more mass shootings than days this year.”
The Office comes on the heels of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a federal bill passed in June 2022 that enhanced gun control and access to school-based mental health care.
Biden said he’ll continue to urge Congress to take “commonsense actions that the majority of Americans support,” such as banning assault weapons.
“But in the absence of that sorely-needed action,” he said, “the Office of Gun Violence Prevention along with the rest of my Administration will continue to do everything it can to combat the epidemic of gun violence that is tearing our families, our communities, and our country apart,” he said.
As for Quavo, he’s fully committed to solutions.
“We need to do better with the control of guns,” he told the Congressional Black Caucus. “We need to figure out how do we keep these types of incidents from happening to people going anywhere and thinking they can hurt somebody where it shouldn’t happen.”
This article was originally published by Word In Black.