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Meetings Address Gun Violence

Update: Nine Meetings have now joined the Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence: Tampa, Miami, Palm Beach, Orlando, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Gainesville. 1/16/17

Friends in SEYM are concerned about the epidemic of gun violence in our communities. Miami, Palm Beach, Tampa, and Orlando Meetings have joined the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, adding their names to the petition to the Florida Governor, Senate, and House of Representatives. The Coalition, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, will be lobbying the House and Senate in upcoming sessions. The petition puts forward two requests:

“First, we call upon you to enact legislation making it a crime to import knowingly, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon or large capacity ammunition feeding device.

Second, we call upon the state to implement comprehensive, universal background checks.”

UntitledOrlando Friends encourage all Meetings and Worship Groups in Florida to join the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. Its member include a diverse array of over 100 organizations including Equality Florida, Hispanic Federation, Interfaith Council of Central Florida, Florida Council of Churches, Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, Florida PTA, Doctors for America, and various industries, healthcare and educations organizations, legal groups, faith-based organizations, and LGBT, Hispanic, and African American communities.

After the Pulse night club shootings, Orlando Meeting recorded several minutes on the topic of Gun Violence, including this testimony:

Orlando Monthly Meeting Statement on Recent Violence

8-2016.04 Orlando Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends carries a concern regarding recent acts of violence in the Unites States and the world.

“Do rightly, justly, truly, holily, equally to all people in all things; and that is according to that of God in every man, and the witness of God, and the wisdom of God, and the life of God in yourselves; and there you are serviceable in your generation, laboring in the thing that is good, which does not spoil, nor destroy, nor waste the creation upon the lusts”…

 —George Fox, Epistle 200, 1661

We, Orlando Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, are heartbroken by the mass shooting tragedy in our community at the Pulse night club on June 12, 2016, which targeted members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) and Latinx population.

We deplore all forms of violence. We are grieved by violence perpetrated against people solely because of their identity and acknowledge the gifts and inherent worth of all members of our human family.

We bear witness to how the current climate of fear and polarization in our society creates a fertile breeding ground for the justification of violence towards those seen as “the other.”

We recognize that those disproportionately victimized by this divisive culture of “us” vs. “them” are members of historically oppressed groups including LGBTQ individuals, people of color, religious minorities, and women. We invite and welcome all to worship with us at Orlando Monthly Meeting.

As Quakers, we seek the light and hope in a world that often feels dark with despair. We believe that positive change begins with an inward examination of our conscience to ask ourselves how we are called to lead with love as the first motion.

Orlando Monthly Meeting minutes its commitment to working together as individuals and as a community, to live out our beliefs for the cause of peace.

Learn more at the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence website: preventgunviolenceflorida.org