Metro Weekly

Ralph Northam and Pulse survivor to speak at LGBTQ gun reform event

Featured speakers will include Brandon Wolf, a Pulse survivor, and Chris Hurst, candidate for Virginia's House of Delegates

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife – Photo: Equality Virginia.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia, will speak at a national gun reform group’s reception in D.C. on Wednesday evening.

The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence is holding a reception at Local 16, in D.C.’s U Street corridor, at 7 p.m. The program will feature remarks from survivors and others affected by gun-related violence.

Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse massacre, and Lori Haas, a mother who became involved in the gun reform movement after her daughter Emily survived being shot twice in the head during the 2006 mass shooting at Virginia Tech, will speak at the event.

“We’re bringing together survivors, activists, and political candidates to rally around the need for commonsense gun reforms,” Jason Lindsey, the executive director of Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, said in a statement.

“Gun violence is on the ballot this election, and we have a mass of grassroots activists and volunteers that will ensure that the best leaders are elected — ones who will put the safety of all Americans over the interests of the corporate gun lobby.”

The Pride Fund, a political action committee formed in the wake of last year’s brutal massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, has been involved in several high-profile political campaigns over the past year. Pride Fund throws its support behind candidates who not only support LGBTQ equality, but also reforms such as expanded background checks and other measures that make it harder for criminals or the mentally ill to access guns.

Also scheduled to appear is Chris Hurst, the Democratic candidate for Virginia’s House of Delegates in District 12, where Virginia Tech is located.

Hurst began speaking out against gun-related violence and decided to run for political office after his girlfriend, Alison Parker, was shot and killed on live television.

 

Northam’s political base is located in the Eastern Shore, a culturally conservative area, and the district that Hurst is running in spans from the city of Blacksburg into rural areas of Southwest Virginia. Hillary Clinton narrowly won over Donald Trump in both House District 12 and Northam’s old state Senate district.

Northam has previously been endorsed by Equality Virginia for his record of supporting pro-LGBTQ legislation. Hurst, who would face off against Del. Joseph Yost (R-Pearisburg), supports LGBTQ equality but has not yet been endorsed by any LGBTQ groups, in part because Yost is one of the few House Republicans in Virginia who has not demonstrated hostility towards the LGBTQ community in his voting record.

The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence’s reception will be held on Wednesday, July 12, at 7 p.m. at Local 16, 1620 U Street NW. For more information, visit pridefund.org.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com