Monday, January 15, 2024
2024 Annual MLK Birthday Observance: Public Health Epidemic of Gun Violence
Presented in partnership with Houston Moms Demand Action, Daya, The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), Jung Center Houston
Featuring Keynote Speaker David Hogg, March For Our Lives
Pay What You Can Tickets $0-25 | In-person event with chair seating
10am-8:30pm - Memorial Dedicated to US Victims of Gun Violence on View on Plaza
11am & 1pm - Annual MLK Day Audio Installation
6-6:30pm & 8-8:30pm - Community Tables with Information on Getting Involved
6:30-8pm - Keynote & Panel Discussion
Gun violence in the United States—the country with the highest gun ownership per capita—is an entrenched public health issue that impacts Americans across demographics and geographies. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 327 people a day are shot in the US, and 42,654 die from gun violence each year. Since the 1990s, Texas firearm-related homicides rose 66% and suicides involving firearms rose 40%. The Austin American-Statesman stated that Texas topped the list of gun related deaths in 2021, and in 2022 we witnessed the catastrophic mass-shooting in Uvalde leaving 19 children and two teachers dead at an elementary school.
In the spirit of Dr. King’s commitment to address critically important justice issues and create a more equitable society through engaging in nonviolent tactics, this event provides space to learn more about the public health impacts of gun violence, and to delve into our collective responsibilities to address this critical epidemic. The event will feature keynote speaker David Hogg, Co-Founder of March For Our Lives, followed by a panel of local public health researchers and organizers including Dr. Jeff Temple, Dean of Clinical Research in the School of Behavioral Health Science at UTHealth Houston; Dr. Bindi Naik-Mathuria, Pediatric Trauma Surgeon at UTMB; Karlton Harris, Executive Director of The Forgotten Third; and Kimberly Mata-Rubio, who recently ran for mayor of Uvalde after her daughter was killed in the Robb Elementary School Shooting.
The program featured a temporary memorial installation on the Plaza by Sandeigh Kennedy exploring the impacts of gun violence in 2023, contemplative music by DACAMERA Young Artists and poetry by previousTexas Poet Laureate Lupe Mendez. Local organizations addressed gun violence in Houston and Texas were onsite after the event to share information about how to get involved in gun violence prevention efforts.
About the Annual MLK Birthday Observance
In 1979, The Rothko Chapel started the annual MLK Birthday Observance to connect the contemporary implications of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy to the ongoing struggle for civil and human rights, captured through artist Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk. This sculpture, located on the plaza adjacent to the Chapel, is dedicated to Dr. King. Recent presenters have included Civil Rights Freedom Singer Rutha Mae Harris, artist David Banner, columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr., environmental justice leader Dr. Robert Bullard, MacArthur Fellow Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, the Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra, and photographer Devin Allen.