By Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D., Hartford Guardian

More than a week after 20-year-old Adam Lanza massacred 20 first-graders and six women at Sandy Hook Elementary School, plunging a seemingly bucolic New England town into unspeakable grief, Connecticut still mourns.

Children at a Chicago rally against gun violence

Children at a Chicago rally against gun violence

For some, their pain is tinged with weariness because innocent children in affluent Newtown died and exposed an inconvenient truth: race and class matter….

The latest and most deadly school massacre in America, the Newtown mass shooting presents an opportune moment to address these issues, including gun control laws. But unfortunately too much of the discussion has been focused on “assault weapons” with lethal firepower. …

Sadly, many have unwittingly implied that people in urban areas are not violently assaulted by handguns. In fact, some have normalized tragedy in urban communities.

…[H]andguns create daily carnage in cities across the nation. U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, (D-Illinois) lost his son to gun violence in 1999. For decades, he has introduced bills to stem the flow of guns into cities. In January when Congress convenes, he will renew his push with H.R. 6680. In a phone interview on Thursday, Rush said the “Blair Bill” would, among other things, mandate serial numbers on all handguns. He added that most homicides are left unsolved because it is difficult to trace handguns.

Surviving children leave Sandy Hook Elementary School following the mass shooting.

Surviving children leave Sandy Hook Elementary School following the mass shooting.

Rush represents the first district in Chicago, now the homicide capital of the world. In June, 240 people in Chicago were killed mostly in shootings, according to a New York Times article. And a significant number of the 30,000 Americans who died by gun violence each year are African Americans and Latinos. Not all are criminals. And almost everyone is somebody’s brother, sister, father or child—just like in Newtown….

As we watch many around the world memorialize 26 people, who died in Lanza’s rampage before he took his own life and the life of his mother, we recognize a familiar truth: some lives are worth more than others. And race and class matter in how the story unfolds in the media and how some politicians address this longstanding issue….

[P]eople of color must also seize this opportunity to ensure that their lives matter just as much as those lives in Newtown. Indeed, they must work to improve civil society. Precious lives depend on it.

Read the complete opinion piece here.

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