By: Spencer King
Last night, the first-ever Concert Across America to End Gun Violence took place. It featured 350 events across the country with more than 5,200 artists performing to honor victims of gun violence and to promote gun violence prevention as a voting issue in the November elections.
Musical events took place over the course of the day at places of faith, historical theaters and other venues from coast to coast.
The concert series started with a sunrise Aloha chant in Hawaii, the state with the lowest gun death rate. Moby made a surprise appearance at the Los Angeles concert, while Joan Osborne joined the New York City performance.
“These concerts are about getting common sense gun laws passed,” said Jackson Browne, who performed at the Beacon Theater in New York City.
During his performance, also at the Beacon, Eddie Vedder said:
Together we have power. If we rise to the challenge to unite and support sensible gun violence prevention measures in our cities and our towns, then we have the power to save lives. Let’s use our power for good. The Harlem choir brought tears to my eyes. I’m honored to be on stage tonight, especially knowing that I’m at one of 350 other venues tonight.
Wearing a “Moms Demand Action” t-shirt, Vedder continued, “I love the moms that work on this issue, if you want something done, call a mom.”
The founder of the Million Mom March and concert co-chair Donna Dees remarked on the number of organizations present at just the Beacon Theater alone. Among them were representatives from Moms Demand Action, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign, Stop Handgun Violence and Gays Against Guns. The solidarity measure was one that certainly made its presence known.
Others showed their support via social media: Bette Midler, Snoop Dogg, Chelsea Handler, Sarah McLachlan, Valerie Jarrett, Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor are among those who expressed support using the hashtags #ConcertAcrossAmerica (to) #EndGunViolence.