Congresswoman Janice Hahn (CA-44) attended Obama’s recent State of the Union address with Reverend E. Winford Bell, a Los Angeles faith-based leader who has been affected by gun violence. Bell serves as senior pastor of the Mt. Olive 2nd Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California. His son was shot during a drive-by shooting in 2009. This tragic incident led him to establish the Silver Lining of Hope, a faith-based anti-violence community organization in Watts.
“It is an honor to have Reverend Bell join me this evening at the State of the Union. It is important that Members of Congress see the people at the heart of this debate and hear their stories,” said Hahn. “I commend his steadfast commitment and leadership to this very important issue that has plagued our neighborhoods for far too long. He has a story that is all too common in the communities I represent.”
Silver Lining of Hope is the product of a collaboration between churches from communities in Inglewood, Compton and Watts, where gun violence is pervasive and tied to the prevalence of gang activity. The organization provides an immediate resource for police when a crime is committed in the community and a support system for local families affected by gun violence.
“It is an honor and privilege to join Congresswoman Hahn this evening at the State of the Union,” said Bell. “Now more than ever, we must come together as a community and a nation to stop this senseless gun violence that is taking the lives of our babies. We’ve been to too many funerals and witnessed too much heartache.”
In the afternoon on Tuesday February 12, Hahn and Bell spoke at a Mayors Against Illegal Guns press conference with other members of Congress and their State of the Union guests who have been affected by gun violence.
“We have the chance to talk about this important issue today, but people in my communities have been waiting for this conversation for decades,” added Hahn.
Congresswoman Hahn and Reverend Bell donned Silver Lining of Hope’s symbol– a black and silver ribbon that represents the black cloud of crime that plagues inner-city communities with a silver lining that represents hope.