Voters stance on gun violence at center of virtual concert

'Everything that we value is at stake'
Posted at 10:00 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 00:44:12-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.  — With all the talk about the election and campaign promises from President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, there's growing response from some voters in South Florida who think gun violence isn't be talked about enough. This weekend they'll take their stance online.

In 2013, Carol Sheffield Blake's brother, Michael, was shot and killed in Riviera Beach. Blake said it's devastating, no matter who pulled the trigger.

"I lost my brother and it wasn't a police officer that killed my brother," Blake said. "For every Breonna Taylor and Michael Brown, there are 100 times more victims of gun violence that are out there."

This voter's concern has been passed to her children, ages 9 and 4, who are preparing for their biggest speech of the year virtually during a local "Concert Across America to End Gun Violence."

"It's something that we really can't turn our backs on," Blake said.

Caroll Sheffield Blake, who lost her brother to gun violence
"For every Breonna Taylor and Michael Brown, there are 100 times more victims of gun violence that are out there," Caroll Sheffield Blake says.

The Rev. Iona Joseph Gamble is the organizer of this year's local concert. She's encouraging voters to demand accountability at the polls and demand elected officials prioritize effective laws.

"Everything that we value is at stake," she said.

The purpose of the weekend event is to remember the lives lost to gun violence. Although the event is primarily education and awareness, participants aim to make gun violence a top voting issue in future elections.

"I have no regard for religious leaders who out and say peace and Shalom and good will and then do nothing while carnage is going on in the streets of our cities and do nothing to support gun control," Rabbi Barry Silver, Interfaith Justice League founder, said. "That is hypocrisy at its worse. It will never go away until it's addressed. We have to atone. We have to admit it. It has to be addressed."

This virtual concert will be held Saturday on Facebook Live at 4 p.m. West Palm Beach Police Chief Frank Adderley will also have remarks. To view the concert visit, here.

The full list of speakers and performers include: Elin Shusterman (Organizer of the 2016 Concert Across America in Boca Raton); Arlene Ustin (Organizer of the 2017 Concert Across America in Boynton Beach); Rabbi Barry Silver (Founder of Interfaith Justice League); Wynna Dunmyer (Moms Demanding Actions); Tom Gabor (Award Winning Author, Criminologist); Zoe Glover (Organizer of the National Concert Across America); Edith C. Bush (Founder of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Coordinating Committee), Pastor Reuben Anderson (Pastor of First Corinthians Missionary Baptist Church), Apostle Teresa Nelson (Nelson Outreach Ministry), Derron Blake (Youth Orator, MLKCC Award, Northboro Elementary School).; Tristan Blake (Kindergarten student at Northboro Elementary School) and Ari Silver (Founder of the Student March to Stop Gun Violence); Sandra Baran: Guitarist, Vocalist, Pianist; Denise Strother: National Recording Artist Vocalist; Rick McDonald; I. Renai Collins: Author, Clergy, Poet; Janise Tucker: Composer of Anti-Violence Song, Pianist, and Vocalist; Skya Johnson: Violinist and Pianist; Sandria Harris: Pianist and Singer.