RuQuan Brown, a former D.C. student, was critical of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s efforts to prevent gun violence during the March for Our Lives rally Saturday.
Brown, now a student at Harvard University, said he spoke with Bowser two years ago about creating safer spaces for residents. She said she would handle it.
“If that were true, I wouldn’t be on this stage,” he said in his speech right after Bowser addressed the crowd.
Brown said he was left with no choice but to take on the challenge himself.
“Since our elected officials are extremely broken, ignorant, and irresponsible. I’ve been left with no other choice. But then to explore and discover what is going to take to keep me my 10 siblings, my future children, you and yours safe,” Brown said.
Brown also thought the answer to gun violence was through education.
“But we are unsafe in our schools. I thought it would be through leisure but we are unsafe on vacation. I thought that it would be through career but we are unsafe at work. I thought it would be through politics but we are unsafe at our capitol,” he said.
Love is what Brown believes will solve the spike in gun violence.
“Love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, and trust. Many of our politicians approach stages with only one of those ingredients. We are demanding that politicians love and that requires all six of those ingredients,” said Brown.
Brown went on to say we must live in a nation where love is ordinary.
“We must live in a nation where love takes us by storm. We must live in a nation where love keeps us warm. Because that is what we deserve,” he said.
WTOP has reached out to the mayor’s office for comment.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the correct name of the speaker.)