Chandelis Duster, CNN, June 5, 2023
Hundreds of White women gathered at the Colorado Capitol Monday morning, with more expected to show up throughout the day, to use their “privilege” in a silent sit-in to demand Gov. Jared Polis ban guns and create a gun buyback program.
The sit-in also comes amid a national debate over gun control and nearly two months after Polis signed into law four gun control bills, including one to expand the state’s red flag law.
Here4TheKids, a movement created after a mass shooting in Nashville in March left six people dead, including three children, calls for primarily White women to peacefully sit-in until Polis, a Democrat, signs an executive order banning guns. It was founded by two women of color, Saira Rao, who is South Asian American, and Tina Strawn, who is Black. Both are mothers.
Strawn told CNN the movement calls for White women to be at the forefront of the sit-in because, “we know what happens when we show up with demands.”
“We know what happens when we show up in large numbers to fight for our rights. We’ve been doing it for generations. We’re always the ones whose bodies are in the most danger and at the most risk,” Strawn, an author and owner of the “Speaking of Racism” podcast said.
“So, it appealed to me very much that this was actually a time where we are asking Black folks and other marginalized and vulnerable communities to sit this one out and allow the White women and their privileged bodies, their privilege, and their power to show up. It’s time for them to show up,” Strawn added.
The movement has garnered support from the entertainment industry, including from White actresses Amy Schumer, Michaela Watkins and Lake Bell.
Watkins, who showed up at the Colorado Capitol early Monday morning and plans to stay until late in the evening, told CNN her initial response to the call to action for mainly White women to participate was, “What? Just White women? That sounds just exclusive,” but she understood what the founders meant.
“White women, statistically, have been the least likely to be arrested, assaulted by police officers and so we just said, ‘OK.’ If marginalized communities have been just traumatized over and over and over again I guess we just come together,” Watkins told CNN as cars drove by and honked in support of the protest. “We are the biggest voting block in this country. We do have power, we just forget that and we have been conditioned to forget that.”
She also said, “For me, it was very confronting, it was like, ‘I am an activist, but am I really willing to put myself on the line?’” when asked what was her response to other White women who feel uncomfortable with the movement.