PFT President Jerry Jordan, Parkway NW Student Destiny Holley Join National Town Hall on Gun Violence Prevention

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December 15, 2021

PHILADELPHIA—This evening, PFT President Jerry Jordan and Parkway Northwest Student Destiny Holley joined a virtual town hall on gun violence. The town hall was moderated by AFT President Randi Weingarten and featured the following panelists:

  • Abbey Clements: Teacher survivor of the Sandy Hook School tragedy and gun violence prevention activist
  • Destiny Holley: 11th grade student, Philadelphia
  • Fred Guttenberg: Parent and founder, Orange Ribbons for Gun Safety, Florida
  • Jerry Jordan: President, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

The town hall was streamed live on PFT's Facebook page and the replay can be viewed here.

Randi Weingarten introduced and moderated the panel, noting, "Gun violence is getting worse not better. The number of people who have guns who ought not to have guns is getting worse not better. This is a crisis that virtually every other country in the world has solved.”

In his remarks, Jerry Jordan said, "I’m joined today by some really remarkable advocates and people, each of whom has experienced tragedies that I wish I could say were unthinkable. But the fact is, what they have endured is not unthinkable in our society. Because we have allowed it."

Jordan emphasized that in 2021 alone, Philadelphia has experienced 529 homicides. He read the names of several recent murder victims: Samir Jefferson, Age 14; Kanye Davis, Age 16; Marcus Stokes, Age 13; Samuel Collington, Age 21; Sykea Patterson, Age 24; Jessica Covington, Age 32.

Fred Guttenberg, who lost his daughter Jaime in the Parkland tragedy, recalled a recent conversation he had with administrators at Oxford High School after the school shooting. Guttenberg said the conversation "shook me to my core," because "we have done nothing to stop this." Guttenberg noted the critical nature of upcoming elections, saying that "we are closer than ever" to meaningful gun reform, but we are also "closer than ever" to losing that chance. 

Parkway Northwest eleventh grader Destiny Holley has advocated for the needed change. Holley said, "Educate our youth. Mentor them. Be there for them. Then we can see those changes that we need." On how to address this crisis, Holley also urged programs at school, marches, and for everyone to speak out in conversations and on social media. 

Jordan reiterated our call for resources in schools and noted, "If we continue to reject our collective responsibilities, we will continue to lose family, friends, students, and community members."

Abbey Clements, a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary, expressed outrage that nine years after Sandy Hook, we have not implemented real change. Clements said, "The onus of this public health crisis must not rest on young people." Clements concluded, "We demand and envision a country that is safe from gun violence."

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Jerry Jordan's Full Remarks Here