Singer Tony Bennett, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma in 1965, performed at the “Realize the Dream” rally as part of the Voices Against Violence (VAV) campaign on Saturday, August 24th at the Lincoln Memorial.
The rally was a part of the “National Action to Realize the Dream” march planned to continue the efforts begun 50 years ago when Dr. King gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.
Voices Against Violence (VAV), a campaign led by Tony Bennett, his son, Danny Bennett, and The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, was founded earlier this year to give voice to the overwhelming majority of Americans who support sensible gun reforms and use that voice to hold elected leaders accountable and create change. This week, VAV launched a groundbreaking new website designed to engage and amplify the voice of the American people to engage people at Saturday’s rally.
The website, VoicesAgainstViolence.com, will engage the American population in a way that’s never been done before, by converting the public voice into a unique visual identity called a voice signature. Once users visit the site, they will say their name and recite a phrase of solidarity, “My voice matters.” The site will generate a unique voice signature in real time that users can share across the social web.
“Dr. King’s humanitarian message of non-violence is as relevant and necessary today as it was 50 years ago. I share his dream that we need to do away with violence in all its forms, especially gun violence, and work towards mutual respect and understanding between citizens regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background,” commented Tony Bennett.
“Fifty years ago Dr. Martin Luther King gathered with thousands of people to amplify their voices for change. We hope to continue to amplify the voice of the people, so politicians heed our call,” said Danny Bennett, a co-founder of Voices Against Violence.
“Dr. King was one of the most powerful voices in history that inspired the voices of millions of Americans who spoke out for change. It is time for the American public once again to raise its voice, this time on the issue of the gun violence that is destroying our communities and our nation, and there is no more fitting place to start than on the 50thanniversary of the historic March On Washington,” said Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
While the impact of gun violence affects every community, African American children and teens are 17 times more likely to die from gun homicide than white youth, according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while African Americans make up 15 percent of youth in America, African Americans accounted for 45 percent of child and teen gun deaths in 2010, based on the most recent data available.
VAV’s participation in the rally included a performance by Tony Bennett, honorary chair of the “Voices Against Violence” campaign, Dan Gross, President, Brady Campaign, and guest speakers that are victims of gun violence.