For seven years now former Marine and anti-gun violence activist Jamal Johnson has undertaken a three week 140-mile walk from Philadelphia to Washington, DC to participate in the annual Stop Killing Us (SKU) campaign and intergenerational rally. “Every step I take is a step in the right directions” is how Johnson affirmatively surmises his long between the two cities.
In what has become a terrible ongoing tragedy for the Black community across the country, the SKU continues to call attention to the senseless killing by “sounding the alarm and offering ‘solutions’ in an effort to drastically reduce the violence from law enforcement as well as gang and other shootings disproportionately aimed toward Black communities.”
SKU describes itself as “a new spiritually righteous social justice campaign and intergenerational movement” that is actively engaged in bringing about positive change.
After holding a noontime press conference at the Black Caucus Headquarters where both Johnson and the Rev. Curtis E. Gatewood spoke, the small group of SKU activists held a demonstration in front of the Cannon Congressional Office Building across from the Capitol. The strategic location is important in getting their message across to the many other lawmakers and their staff who frequently pass by the building numerous times each day.
In speaking of Johnson’s commitment to the campaign in seeing an end to gun violence and in a call for action and commitment from others, the Rev. Gatewood who founded SKU in 2017 stated that “If Johnson is willing to stand up and march over 140 miles to say “stop killing us,” we should at least be able to stand up in our own churches, organizations, fraternities, sororities, streets, communities, hamlets, villages, neighborhoods, ‘hoods,’ and backyards and say ‘stop killing us’!”
During their demonstration the group chanted “Stop killing us” loudly in calling to the endless cycle of violence while gaining the attention of the many visitors to the Capitol.
When noticing that Nuzeink as the only press present during the demonstration, the Rev. Gatewood proclaimed that the group appreciated the coverage and that it would continue in their efforts to end police and gun violence with or without any press coverage no matter what.
On their large banner was a quote from the New English Translation (NET) Bible passage warning to “Stop killing innocent people in this land… That will only bring about your ruin.” Good advice for those who are so easily inclined to settle any dispute by killing.
The group has offered an open invitation calling on “Anyone interested in stopping the deadly shootings which are disproportionately killing “Black Lives” throughout the country are invited to attend” their rallies. One would hope, too, that anti-gun violence rallies such as these would soon be outdated by people holding the value of life in higher esteem.
Photo: Phil Pasquini
(This article has previously appeared in Nuzeink.)
Phil Pasquini is a freelance journalist and photographer. His reports and photographs appear in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Pakistan Link and Nuze.ink. He is the author of Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America.
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