Photos & Article Provided By: Lori Yeghiayan Friedman

Allentown, PA – CeaseFirePA, Lehigh Valley Friends of CeaseFirePA, and Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center proudly joined together on the steps of Allentown City Hall this evening to call on Congress to finally have the courage to stand up to the gun lobby and the NRA and support for commonsense gun safety reforms including background checks, a ban on assault weapons, and preventing terrorists from legally purchasing firearms. Speakers at the rally included:

  • Shira Goodman, Executive Director, CeaseFire PA
  • Adrian Shanker, Executive Director, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
  • Fritz Walker, President, Lehigh Valley Friends of CeaseFire PA
  • Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski
  • Bethlehem City Councilperson Olga Negron
  • Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Schlossberg
  • Jude-Laure Denis, Executive Director of POWER Northeast

Since the recent massacre at Pulse Nightclub, a gay bar in Orlando, which was the largest mass shooting in American history, the inability of Congressional leadership to allow legislation that could actually pass to even come to the floor for a vote is a national disgrace. “Speaker Ryan has labeled the historic sit-in by House Democrats pressing for a vote – a simple vote – a publicity stunt,” said Fritz Walker. “Let’s call speaker Ryan’s unwillingness to allow a vote exactly what it is: outright political cowardice in the face of NRA opposition. They oppose any meaningful law to prevent terrorists from buying firearms, or close loopholes in our background check system. It’s outrageous, and a clear failure on the part of Congress to protect the American people.”

Each year over 33,000 Americans are killed by gun violence – homicides, suicides, and accidents (which often kill innocent children). Poll after poll indicates that 88 – 93% of Americans support background checks for all gun sales, and at similar rates, Americans don’t want terrorists to be able to legally buy firearms. And still Congress does nothing.

Adrian Shanker, Executive Director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center explained why this issue is now galvanizing the LGBT community: “When LGBT lives are under attack, we stand together to demand an end to violence against our community, including violence inflicted by guns. The massacre at Pulse Nightclub is a wake up call for our community that we must do more to prevent violence against LGBT people. We deserve for our LGBT gathering places – our gay bars, our community centers, our pride festivals – to be safe spaces, free from violence.”

“A sleeping giant has awakened,” said Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFirePA. “Pennsylvanians — like voters all over the nation — are tired of inaction by our leaders. We are demanding more — meaningful votes on strong legislation to keep us safer.”

The rally concluded with a refrain from Fritz Walker, “America must do better. America shall do better!”


CeaseFire PA is a statewide organization working with mayors, law enforcement, faith leaders, community organizations and Pennsylvanians taking a stand against gun violence. We work to reduce gun violence, stop the flow of illegal guns onto our streets, and keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. Learn more: www.ceasefirepa.org

Lehigh Valley Friends of CeaseFirePA supports to mission of CeaseFirePA in the Lehigh Valley.

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center provides arts & culture and health promotion programs and direct services to strengthen and support the LGBT community across the Greater Lehigh Valley. Learn more: www.bradburysullivancenter.org