Minnesota legislator Erin Maye Quade held a sit-in on the floor of the Minnesota House of Representatives for 24 hours to call on her colleagues to pass a gun control measure that had come to a previous halt, reports Teen Vogue.
During her 24 hours of sitting on the floor, Maye Quade, a member Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, read aloud a number of stories of those who have been the victims and survivors of gun-violence. In order to drive her point home and stay in the moment, she was mindful not to listen to any music or do other, unrelated work during the sit-in.
She credits Survivors Lead, an organization that provides support and advocacy training for survivors of gun violence, as well as sexual and domestic violence, with providing her with the stories she read on the floor.
— Mike Freiberg (@RepFreiberg) April 24, 2018
Of the numerous stories she read, Maye Quade said there was one story in particular that stood out and made an impact for her personally. A law clerk named Chase Passeur was shot six times by a client who was upset with the law firm Chase happened to work for, according to the Star Tribune. The impact this story had on Maye Quade goes beyond just making a big impact on her; it’s personal, too. Just prior to the murder, the firm’s owner had reached out via email to Maye Quade’s wife, Alyse Maye Quade, about potentially getting involved with Moms Demand Action. It’s a group, she told Teen Vogue, that Alyse worked for.
The second email the firm’s owner sent Alyse just said, “There was just a shooting at the law office and I don’t know what to do.”
"90% of MNs support background checks. Students marched, parents rallied, survivors pleaded, yet there's been no vote. Today, I begin a 24hr sit-in on the #mnleg House floor. I will share the stories of victims & survivors that deserve to be told in this chamber.#SitInSpeakUp"pic.twitter.com/vHiMz2SZHw
— Erin Maye Quade (@ErinMayeQuade) April 24, 2018
Maye Quade said she read the stories not just to motivate action in legislation, but also in order to honor the victims and survivors and their loved ones. "I was telling the stories of those we lost to gun violence and survivors of gun violence on the floor because their stories belong on that floor of their house, the people’s house," she said.
Her other motivation was a specific piece of legislature regarding background checks for gun ownership that ended up stalled. A recent poll from the Star Tribune, a Minnesota paper, found that 90% of Minnesotans are in support of mandatory criminal background checks for all gun sales. In Maye Quade’s opinion, this isn’t a partisan issue anywhere else but in the legislative body of the House of Representatives in Minnesota, and that has to change.
If it does nothing else, her protest has forced Republicans to act by speaking about the issue to the press. According to MPR News, Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt spoke on possible future gun control measures, saying, “I hope that there is [action]. I think there will be. I think there can be. I don't know what that looks like yet." There are only a few weeks left in the current legislative session, so there’s a chance we may have to wait for the next one to see what will happen, if anything.
Maye Quade felt she did her job to the best of her ability during the sit-in. Her voice was heard, and she made the voices of her constituents heard. As a legislator, that’s both her job and her main goal.
"The discomfort, the exhaustion, all of it was worth it to maybe make sure that in the future there are families that don't have to miss loved ones," she said. "My bottom was sore, but my spirits were high."