WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) joined Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and House Democrats this evening for a national speak out on the need to address gun violence in America. Whip Hoyer was joined by Dr. Wendy Edmonds and J. Bobbe Frasier, Jr.,  siblings of Sylvia Frasier, one of three of Whip Hoyer’s constituents killed in a mass shooting in Washington Navy Yard in 2013.  Below is a transcript of his remarks:

“Thank you [Rep.] Jim Clyburn. Thank you every mother, and every father, and every young person, every brother and sister, every friend and neighbor who lost somebody to gun violence. We thank you for being here, we thank you for your courage, we thank you for remembering your loved one and making this a very real issue, not a theoretical issue.

“I particularly want to recognize Mr. Bobbe Frasier and Dr. Wendy Edmonds, my constituents, as was their sister Sylvia, who lost her life to gun violence as you heard at the Washington Navy Yard.

“The Republican Majority has decided that in the House Chamber tomorrow, and for the next seven weeks, the lights will be out, the microphones will be turned off, and no debate will take place on commonsense gun safety legislation, even as the American people demand action.

“Thank you for being here tonight. So ladies and gentlemen, we may not be able to turn the lights on in the dark Chamber of the House, but we can shine, we can shine a bright light across the nation to signal our determination for change.

“Everyone here, everyone here has either a candle or a flashlight or a phone. Put your lights on for justice. Put your lights on for common sense. Put your lights on to make a difference.

“Dr. Martin Luther King wrote: ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’

“Let us shine a light for the victims of gun violence, from Aurora to Newtown, to the ‘Emanuel Nine’ to the ‘Orlando Forty-Nine,’ and in all those other places where people ought to be and they gave their lives being where they ought to be. From Alton Sterling and Philando Castile to the five fallen officers in Dallas, and all the many thousands whose stories we didn’t read about in the national news.

“And let us shine the light of our common resolve to see this work through to disarm hate.

“And now ladies and gentlemen, it is now my great privilege and honor, not to introduce because you know him, but to present a hero of the civil rights movement who faced down a wall of oppression and resistance in Selma and so many other places, and nearly lost his life demanding only the right to vote, the right to vote.

“As you listen to [Rep.] John Lewis, resolve to yourselves, I will never, when given the opportunity, not vote. It makes a difference.

“He led our sit-in last month that called for commonsense gun violence prevention measures, and he is here with us tonight to join in remembering gun violence victims and calling for action.

“Ladies and gentlemen you know this, John Lewis embodies the conscience of our country, he embodies the striving of our founders to create a more perfect union, and John Lewis is the essence of non-violence and the beloved community.

“I give to you my brother – your brother – John Lewis.”