Jan 9, 2013
Today, Dan Gross, the President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, participated in a meeting of the Vice President’s Task Force on Guns. Accompanying Gross was a group of family members of victims and survivors of gun violence - names and biographies listed below. Attorney General Eric Holder also attended the meeting, presided over by the Vice President.
“I want to thank Vice President Biden and the entire Obama Administration for their commitment to addressing gun violence. Their true commitment is evident in not only their words, but also their actions. There is a powerful consensus building in this country which is reflected in the meetings of this task force,” Gross said. “We are having the conversation the American public wants us to have. Conversations are needed regarding assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and changing social norms, as well as, the very important need for comprehensive background checks - supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans, including gun owners and NRA members. I applaud the task force for accepting input and hearing our recommendations. We at the Brady Campaign view our continued role to be giving voice to the American public and acting as a rallying point for change.”
This was the second meeting the Brady Campaign participated in with White House officials. On December 18th, just four days after the Newtown tragedy and one day before the Task Force was announced, a group of Brady Campaign leaders and family members of victims of gun violence, attended a meeting with White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett. At that meeting, Jarrett affirmed the President’s commitment, which was evident when the Task Force was announced the following day.
The following Brady Campaign family members and survivors who attended the meeting today:
Lonnie Phillips: The stepfather of Jessica Ghawi, who was 24 years old when she was killed in the Aurora, CO shooting. Jessica was an aspiring sports broadcaster who moved to Colorado in 2010 to pursue her dream of a career in sports journalism at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. She had recently moved to Aurora from Denver to save money to follow her dream. Jessica had narrowly avoided a mass shooting at a food court in Toronto, Canada, in June of 2012, prompting her to tweet, "how blessed I am for each second I am given." Her family, mother, and brother Jordan have established the Jessica Redfield Ghawi Foundation in her honor to provide scholarships to women who wish to pursue a sports journalism/broadcasting career.
Annette Nance-Holt: In May 2007, Chicago Fire Department Captain Annette Nance-Holt’s 16-year-old son, Blair, was riding a bus on his way to help out at his grandparents’ store in Roseland, Illinois, when a gang member started shooting at a rival gang member. Blair died while shielding a friend from the crossfire. Blair’s killer was convicted of the killing in July 2009.
William Kelibrew: At age 10, William Kellibrew witnessed the shooting deaths of his mother, Jacqueline Kellibrew and his brother, Anthony Cephas, by his mother’s estranged boyfriend. The shooting occurred in suburban Maryland in 1984. Kellibrew has told his story on the Oprah Winfrey Show and has since founded a gun violence prevention organization, the William Kellibrew Foundation.
Colin Goddard: Born in Nairobi, Kenya, to English and American parents working in international development, Goddard has lived in Somalia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the United States. He completed high school in Cairo, Egypt, and went back to graduate with a BA in International Studies from Virginia Tech in 2008. While enrolled as a fourth-year student at Virginia Tech, Goddard was shot four times and was one of seven, out of a classroom of 17, to survive the shooting. He still has three of the four bullets in his body as well as a titanium rod implanted in his left femur.
Now working at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Goddard uses his experience to educate others about the realities of gun violence and the problems in U.S. gun laws. He has appeared in interviews with numerous media outlets, radio stations, and talk shows, and blogs with his father for The Huffington Post, “Goddard’s on Guns.
The Brady Campaign is the nation's largest citizens' lobby to prevent gun violence. We represent the voice of the overwhelming majority of Americans who are tired of living with the constant tragedy of gun violence and are in favor of strong laws and policies that will save lives. We are the light that exposes politicians who are putting the American people at risk, empowering the American people to hold them accountable for decisions and actions that undermine public safety.
We are driven by the focused vision of a nation where all Americans are safe at home, at work, at school, and in our communities.
Dan Gross is the President of the Brady Campaign and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. A photo and more information about Dan Gross is available here.