Senate Hearings on Capitol Hill, March 7, 2018 – Tyreese McAllister, ‘Gun Violence is Personal.’
Senators Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. and Bill Nelson D-Fla., hosted a Senate Hearing on Gun Violence held on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 on Capitol Hill. Giving riveting testimony was a father who lost his 14-year-old daughter in the recent school shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, a survivor from that school shooting joined by SKYPE, and the mothers of victims from mass shootings to include Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech. Chief of Police Hank Stawinski, of Prince Georges County, was also provided testimony on behalf of the victims of domestic violence, specifically the recent murder of Mujahid Razzadin, a decorated office who was killed a few short weeks ago, while responding to a domestic situation in his own neighborhood, while off duty. Also, represented was a student from Iowa, a teacher from Baltimore, and Kim Bose, who lost her youngest son in a murder two years ago.
For Tyreese McAllister, mother of Ayana Jazmyn McAllister, who was murdered less than a year ago gun violence is personal. During the hearings, McAllister sat next to cousins, Shernell and Carrington Carter, whose son was killed just shy of 3 months of his cousin Ayana. Tyreese shared that while this hearing is needed, and the issues are relevant, she is disturbed that only one family of color was at the table, especially when 42% of total gun deaths of individuals age 15 to 24 are African American males, a rate that is 4.5 times higher than their white counterparts. These statistics combined with the fact that at the Senate Hearing, only one family of color was represented to address gun violence is disturbing. This reiterates that for communities of color, stressing the conversation is different, the issues are unique, and the solution is not the same. She believes since communities of color have not been invited to the table, they need to set their own table.
Interestingly, Tyreese is also closely connected to the African Americans in the senate hearing room, as the Bose family who testified are members of her church. Their slain son, Joseph Bose and Ayana grew up together and served as junior ushers. The Carter family also present, lost their oldest son Carrington Carter Jr. who was killed shy of three months before Ayana. They were cousins. Finally, the Officer recently slain, Mujahid Ramzzadin, was Tyreese’s college classmate. During her statement, Tyreese emphasized that in all three of these homicide cases the firearms used were acquired illegally. She closed with ‘background checks, age restrictions, and mental health evaluations were not an issue for the three gunmen in each of these homicides.’