A U.S. senator's filibuster helped nudge the government toward action on gun control.

At 11:21 a.m. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, Sen. Chris Murphy took the floor of the Senate, vowing not to leave until his colleagues agreed to take action on gun control.

For nearly 15 hours, Murphy — with the help of more than 30 other senators — delivered a series of speeches in hopes of getting the Senate to take action on two amendments. The first amendment would require background checks for guns purchased online or at gun shows and the second would be on whether or not to prevent people on the "no fly" terror watch list from buying guns.

It was a long shot, but after the massacre in Orlando, Murphy wasn't about to sit idly by.


Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images.

The filibuster's most powerful moment came at its closing when Murphy shared the story of Dylan Hockley, a 6-year-old who was killed during the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.

Dylan was one of 20 students who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. Dylan's teacher Anne Marie Murphy (no relation to the senator) died trying to shield the child from gunfire.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Sen. Murphy challenged his colleagues to follow in the footsteps of Dylan's brave teacher.

"Anne Marie Murphy made the most courageous decision that anyone could imagine," said Senator Murphy. "Instead of running, instead of hiding, instead of panicking, Anne Marie Murphy found Dylan Hockley and embraced him. Know why we know that? When the police entered the classroom, that’s how they found Dylan Hockley. Dead. Wrapped in the embrace of Anne Marie Murphy."

"It doesn’t take courage to stand here on the floor of the United States Senate for two hours or six hours or 14 hours. It doesn’t take courage to stand up to the gun lobby when 90% of your constituents want change to happen. It takes courage to look into the eye of a shooter and instead of running, wrapping your arms around a 6-year-old boy and accepting death as a trade for just a tiny little bitty piece of increased peace of mind for a little boy under your charge."

GIF via C-SPAN.

By night's end, Murphy got what he wanted: assurance that the Senate would hold votes on the amendments.

It's doubtful either will pass, but getting these amendments to the floor for an up or down vote is a strong start. The NRA stands in opposition to both amendments. GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, however, supports banning members of the terrorist watch list and says he plans to speak with the gun advocacy group.

We need to fight against the impulse to by cynical. We need to believe that change can happen.

It's a huge and welcome relief to see Murphy and his colleagues in the Senate working to make that change happen.

Orlando, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood, San Bernardino, Aurora — the list of preventable gun tragedies goes on. It's easy to feel cynical, to lose hope for change. After all, the country didn't take any meaningful action on gun control after 20 children were gunned down in Newtown.

But on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, Chris Murphy showed that while sweeping change might still be a ways off, change is possible.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
True

Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

Keep Reading Show less
More

They Liked Her Because She ‘Talked White.’ I Bet They Didn’t Expect This.

Sometimes what people may consider to be a compliment is actually horribly offensive.

This article originally appeared on 01.28.15


This is one of those times.

An incredible woman has the perfect response for someone who says, "You speak so well ... for a black girl."

Keep Reading Show less