RICAGV Press Release
National Gun Violence Prevention Awareness Day
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Saturday, June 2, 2018
CONTACT: Kat Kerwin, Director of Communications
Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence on National Gun Violence Prevention Awareness Day
Providence, Rhode Island June 2, 2018 – Today is National Gun Violence Prevention Awareness Day. We have had a long day of knocking doors in Speaker Mattiello’s district advocating for our common sense gun safety that we hope will get a vote this legislative session. But today, it is important to note that legislative advocacy is not everything. Today, it is important to remember the victims of gun violence who we have lost, right here in our own state, in our own City.
Today, we remember Eric Cuesta. The shooting of Eric Cuesta in 2013, a 16-year-old aspiring artist and beloved member of the Providence community, was a shocking case of needless violence. In an apparent altercation with someone who knew him, Eric’s life was taken all too soon after what was a small argument that escalated fatally. Eric’s innocent life was taken because of the carelessness at the hands of a lethal weapon. According to RI Kids Count, between 2011 and 2015 there were 12 deaths due to firearms for youth under 20, and the leading reason for those deaths is the widespread availability of weapons. As much as we can, we should be fighting to keep unsafe gun owners off of our streets.
Today, we remember Shana Fisher. In Sante Fe, Texas just weeks ago, a lone gunman opened fire in the corridor of the art classrooms. He stole the weapons from his father, and one of the first classmates he hunted down was Shana Fisher, a young 16-year-old girl about to leave for the summer vacation, along with 9 other students. According to her mother “He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no.” Because of the relatively easy access to firearms, this had a deadly consequence when in reality it didn’t need to. Our students need to be protected and not live in fear of going to school.
These innocent, young victims remind us that lethal weapons have no place in our neighborhoods, on our streets, or in our schools. To promote peace and prevent violence we must ensure these weapons are not easily accessible and we are working to invest in those youth that are most at risk of becoming victim. Today, we hope you join us in remembering the lives that did not need to be lost. Today, we hope you commit to end violence in Rhode Island.
All five executive officers took the podium in support of gun safety reforms.
Ms. Ofokanski is a co-founder of the Woonsocket Alliance to Champion Hope (WATCH).
Rep. Caldwell is the sponsor of three important gun safety bills.