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Alicia Keys, Questlove Among Black Celebrities Demanding End to Gun Violence in Open Letter to Congress



Many Black music stars are taking a stand against gun violence. In an open letter to Congress, hundreds of industry influencers have signed on to implore Congress to prevent shooting massacres like the one in Orlando, Florida.

Billboard magazine organized a special “Open Letter to Congress” cover collecting the signatures of musicians and executives in support of the cause. Everytown for Gun Safety, a violence prevention group, aided in the effort and in a few days, nearly 200 acts had signed the letter. They include Questlove, Kid Cudi, Kelly Rowland, L.A. Reid, Talib Kweli, Alicia Keys, Lecrae, Russell Simmons, Ryan Leslie, Pusha T and Lee Daniels among others.

The letter reads as follows.

As leading artists and executives in the music industry, we are adding our voices to the chorus of Americans demanding change.

Music always has been celebrated communally, on dancefloors and at concert halls. But this life-affirming ritual, like so many other daily experiences—going to school or church or work—now is threatened, because of gun violence in this country.

The one thing that connects the recent tragedies in Orlando is that it is far too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on guns.

We call on Congress to do more to prevent the gun violence that kills more than 90 Americans every day and injures hundreds more, including:

Require a background check for every gun sale
Block suspected terrorists from buying guns

Billboard and the undersigned implore you—the people who are elected to represent us — to close the deadly loopholes that put the lives of so many music fans, and all of us, at risk.

The letter comes as U.S. Rep. John Lewis leads a sit-in at the U.S. House of Representatives, which has been going on since Wednesday. It is an attempt to force votes on gun control legislation after the Orlando massacre. Democrats want the GOP to agree to vote on laws preventing those on the no-fly list from buying guns and have extensive background checks. It is technically against the rules of the House to sit on the floor, as Congress members are doing now.

A Democratic aide tells the Atlanta Journal-Contitution the sit-in is part of an organized plan of disruptions to draw attention to gun violence.

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