Last month, the Congressional Black Caucus assembled on the steps of the U.S. Capitol with a declaration: When it comes to gun violence and mass shootings, “thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
As fellow members spoke, Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., stood alongside colleagues in solidarity, her face a study in anguish, reports NBC BLK.
With deadly mass shootings in Buffalo, New York; Uvalde, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and beyond in recent days, the country has been here before. So has the congresswoman. And for her, the issue is deeply personal.
McBath lost her 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, after a man complaining about loud music opened fire on a car of teens at a Jacksonville, Fla. gas station in 2012.
At a House Judiciary Committee hearing about gun violence measures Thursday, she shared her still-palpable grief.
“Was my child afraid? Did he feel pain as the bullets ripped through his skin? How long did it take him to die? Was it quick, or did he suffer?” she asked.
The life-altering loss of her son turned the former flight attendant into an advocate, one who subsequently assumed public roles with Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, McBath joined fellow Black mothers who’ve lost children to violence as one of the Mothers of the Movement.
Following the mass shooting that killed 17 high school students in Parkland, Fla., she was encouraged to run for Congress. Up against a Republican incumbent, the first-time Democratic candidate won in the 2018 midterms and was sworn into Congress in 2019.
Last month McBath won her primary in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District on the same night as the massacre in Uvalde.
“Across the country, from Uvalde to Sandy Hook, from Charleston to Buffalo, the violence that took my son is being replayed with casual callousness and despicable frequency,” she said in her victory speech. “And the children who survive these shootings will now live the rest of their lives with the trauma that only stepping over a friend covered in blood could ever bring.”