HC Wake-Up Call: GOP Leader Tried To Kick Out Parkland Dad From A Gun Violence Hearing, VA Attorney General Admits To Wearing Blackface, & OH City Ditches Columbus Day For A Paid Day Off On Election Day

Good morning Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds — we’re all only human, after all. 

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.) 

GOP Leader Tried To Kick Out A Parkland Dad At A Gun Violence Hearing 

The House Judiciary Committee had its first hearing on gun violence in almost eight years on Wednesday. During the hearing, Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz attempted to have Manuel Oliver—whose son Joaquin “Guac” Oliver was killed in the Parkland, Florida, shooting in 2018—removed from the room after Oliver objected his plan to curb gun violence, The Hill reports.

According to a C-SPAN video of the hearing, Gaetz talked about plans to reduce gun violence, including a bill that would require background checks on firearm sales. He claimed that immigrating was a bigger issue, and that building a border wall was the solution. 

“I hope we do not forget the pain and anguish and sense of loss felt by those all over the country who have been the victims of violence at the hands of illegal aliens… a wall, a barrier on the southern border may have [stopped such violence],” Gaetz said. He didn’t mention that the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooter was born in Margate, Florida, The Sun Sentinel reported.

This elicited an outcry from Oliver. Another Parkland parent, Fred Guttenberg, told The Sun Sentinel that Oliver yelled “that’s not true” at Gaetz. After some back and forth, Gaetz asked Oliver to be removed from the room for “interrupting” his speech.  

“Is there a process in the committee whereby, if the very same people are repeatedly interrupting the time of the members, that those people will be asked to depart the committee?” Gaetz said, pointing directly at Oliver. 

Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler gave Oliver a warning, and said that responding to a member’s views wasn’t allowed. 

Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island came to Oliver’s defense by asking if there was “any committee rule that prevents a member of Congress from reciting false statements in a committee hearing that are unsupported by the evidence.” The interjection received applause from the attendees.  Nadler said that Congress members were allowed to deny someone's false claims on their own time.

Virginia’s Attorney General Apologizes For Wearing Blackface At College Party 

Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring apologized on Wednesday for wearing blackface at a college party as an undergraduate. 

In a statement, Herring, who is second in line for Virginia’s governor, said that he went to a party as a 19-year-old college student in blackface

“Some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song,” he wrote. “It sounds ridiculous even now writing it. But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes—and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of other—we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup.” 

In the statement, Herring said he has been “haunted” for decades with his actions. 

“That conduct clearly shows that, as a young man, I had a callous and inexcusable lack of awareness and insensitivity to the pain my behavior could inflict on others. It was really a minimization of both people of color, and a minimization of a horrific history I knew well event then.”

The response comes less than a week after a photo showing someone in blackface standing next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan outfit was released on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page. He has denied being in the photo. 

According to The New York Times, two hours after the statement’s release, a woman came forward accusing Virginia’s Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004. Fairfax denies the accusation in a tweet.  

An Ohio City Ditches Columbus Day In Exchange For Making Election Day A Paid Day Off 

Officials in the city of Sandusky, Ohio decided to make Election Day a paid holiday every year, according to The Hill. The news follows a public meeting in the city, as The Sandusky Register reported, in which city officials not only made Election Day a paid day off, but choose to get rid of Columbus Day in exchange. 

City Manager Eric Wobser told The Sandusky Register that, “we are swapping them to prioritize Voting Day as a day off so that our employees can vote. It’s also because Columbus Day has become controversial, and many cities have eliminated it as a holiday.” 

Election Day typically falls on the first Tuesday in November, and the new rule will take effect next fall the local publication reports. 

“What better way to celebrate the value of our employees and citizens than by removing barriers for them to participate in the greatest of American innovations, our democracy,” the city government wrote in a Facebook post

Many cities have stopped observing Columbus Day, The Hill reports. Others have started to mark it as Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also advocated for replacing Columbus Day with Election Day. A bill has been introduced in Congress to make Election Day a nationally recognized holiday

What To Look Out For…

How many times have you needed a period emoji, and it wasn’t there? Well, it looks like we’re finally getting one! Unicode, which designs the emojis, announced that a “drop of blood” would be introduced in the Emoji 12.0 release.