Hundreds of women staged a sit-in outside Colorado’s capitol on Monday, calling on Gov. Jared Polis to ban all guns, a move his office said “would simply be unconstitutional.” The gun-ban protest included an estimated 1,000 people by late Monday morning, with some protesters joining from out of state. The sit-in was organized by two anti-racism activists, Tina Strawn, an author and podcaster, and Saira Rao, who made national headlines as one of the organizers of Race to Dinner, an effort to educate liberal white women about their racism over group dinners. Here 4 the Kids, the group Strawn and Rao created earlier this year, argues that the nation'’s gun rights culture is rooted in white supremacy and had asked that white women demonstrate in person in Denver, while calling on other supporters to protest remotely, The Guardian reports.
The demonstration attracted advance support from Hollywood actors, with Chelsea Handler, Niecy Nash, Amanda Seales, Amy Schumer and others posting about the demonstration on Instagram, highlighting the fact that gun violence has become the leading cause of death for children, and calling on white women to take immediate action. The protest prompted pushback from some longtime gun violence prevention activists in Colorado, who argued that advocacy for the “extreme” policy of banning all guns was counterproductive. “This misguided approach will do more harm than good and create unrealistic expectations for a public hungry for meaningful reforms,” wrote Rhonda Fields and Tom Sullivan, two Colorado state senators who lost children to gun violence, in the Denver Post on Monday. Fields lost her son to gun violence in 2005 when he was killed before he was scheduled to testify in a murder trial. Sullivan’s son was killed in a 2012 mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. They wrote that Colorado has been making progress with targeted legislation designed to keep guns out of the hands of high-risk people, including a recent law banning gun sales to people under 21. Fields and Sullivan said they feared that advocacy for more “extreme solutions” could “undermine and demoralize those efforts."