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Team 26 is a group of 26 elite cyclists who will ride from Newtown, CT to Washington, DC beginning on March 9 and arriving on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol on March 12.  Along the way, they will stop in Ridgefield, CT, Frenchtown, NJ and Baltimore, MD. Their goal: to bring Newtown's message to Washington in support of common sense gun legislation.

The Ride on Washington begins Saturday morning at 8:30 AM, at Reed Intermediate School in Newtown.

A week ago, I first heard of the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington. I read about Monte Frank, one of the riders from Newtown, who has been to Washington already and been to the hearings in Congress and has heard the testimony from the Sandy Hook victims' families that made Senators weep. These riders, like Monte, understand this problem much better than I ever will.

These tragedies bind communities from coast to coast - Tucson, Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech and now Newtown. In D.C. these last two days, we met victims from all of these communities.

Will yours be next?

Or, will we act as a nation to curb this unnecessary gun violence?

I'm from Tucson, and seeing nothing change after that tragedy burned, but I have no personal connection to the victims of gun violence here. The closest I get is my new representative in Congress, Ron Barber, who won Gabby Giffords' seat. I can only imagine what drives these cyclists to want to ride down to Washington and confront Congress.

On Saturday morning they will have their send-off rally in Newtown, joining with members of Connecticut's delegation to Congress, along with other political and community leaders. And from there, here's the plan for the first day's ride from Newtown to Ridgefield.

The message they mean to bring to Washington is simple.

We support measures to help curb gun violence:

• Requiring all gun buyers pass criminal background checks*
• a ban of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines*
• making gun trafficking a federal crime, including real penalties for “straw buyers”*
• strengthen gun ownership restrictions for people with severe mental illness

We understand this issue is complex; but together we can ensure that specific actions are taken to prevent tragedies like those in Newtown, CT. Keeping children safe is an obligation we all share.

*source: Mayors Against Illegal Guns

You can read more about the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington and Team 26 in petersolson's diaries here on Daily Kos:

Sandy Hook Ride on Washington - March 9-12

Sandy Hook Ride on Washington - March 9-12 - Day 2 Schedule Update

Sandy Hook Ride on Washington - March 9-12 - Day 3 Schedule update

And also on the riders' website, or on Facebook.

But if you can't see them off in Newtown, or catch any of their stops in Connecticut, or New Jersey, or Maryland, or at the Capitol, like me? You're not out of luck yet. If you're into that Facebook thing that's still a mystery to me, go like them or whatever it is you kids do. And everyone has Senators and a House representative out there, somewhere. Write to them. Email them. Call them if you're so inclined.

Please, do something, while there's still a chance to make change, to reduce gun violence in this country. If this moment, this opportunity passes and nothing changes, I don't want to think about what it will take to bring about the next chance.

Originally posted to The Tytalan Way on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 04:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), Shut Down the NRA, Dream Menders, J Town, and VAGV - Veterans Against Gun Violence.

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