Days after the Uvalde school shooting, a response seems hollow. No words. Action. It’s time for more of us to get involved.
Please take action in your community, on behalf of the shining children who vanished in Uvalde, Texas, and before that at Sandy Hook and Columbine. Gun violence seems crazier now, rampaging because dangerous minds in this country have the idea they are somehow permitted to slaughter innocents en masse. Why not?
No one has stopped them yet.
These commonsense grassroots organizations are already launched and operating in force, some of them founded by moms who lost a child to a stranger’s firearm and others who just care about keeping kids safe. They each started with one person and one idea, and grew to national recognition for their volunteers’ work:
EVERYTOWN (For Gun Safety) is the largest gun violence prevention organization in the U.S. with 8,000,000 volunteers and chapters in every state. If you’re beyond furious or in mourning, the best proven antidote is service to others. Everytown (ET) volunteers have been at this for years. They know how to fight gun lobbyists and close loopholes created by the NRA.
Let’s be clear: power is still with the people if we galvanize. Click on the map to find the nearest ET chapter, or start a new chapter. ET says it is winning the war against gun violence by using evidence-based solutions, such as:
- Alert law enforcement of failed background checks
- Enforce background checks on ALL gun sales
- Close the instant-check loophole
- Enforce waiting periods
- Use extreme risk laws (precautionary arrest) if you suspect a tragedy is brewing
- Prevent gun trafficking
- Prohibit people with dangerous histories from having guns
- Report lost or stolen guns
Moms Demand Action (MDA) is part of EVERYTOWN. It is another grassroots movement sprawling with moms, dads, teachers, students, mayors, responsible gun owners, and survivors – organized volunteers fighting for public safety measures to protect every U.S. citizen from gun violence, especially our children.
MDA passes stronger gun laws and addresses industry loopholes that jeopardize the safety of families. Its local chapters are also thriving in every state. Find your local chapter and text “READY” to 644-33 to volunteer from your community.
“Schools should be sanctuaries of safety for our children, not where they go to die.”
Advance Peace (AP) grew out of the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) in Richmond, California (2007-2016). Its purpose is to interrupt gun violence in urban neighborhoods by working with young men who are themselves at the core of urban violence (similar to Big Brothers).
AP is a bridge between anti-violence programming and connecting with a tough-to-reach population of street kids (mostly young men) who learn that there are other ways to vent hostility and get their kicks instead of firing a gun at someone’s flesh.
In 2019 Richmond recorded its lowest number of firearm assaults causing injury or death (53) in five decades, a 70% reduction since 2010. In 2018, AP Fellowships were launched in Sacramento and Stockton, with 20% and 40% reductions, respectively, in firearm assaults causing injury or death.
In Sacramento, there have been no youth homicides since the launch of Advance Peace, a first in three decades, and additional California cities are being added.
These practical strategies are working in New York and Boston:
- Street outreach programs – working from the premise that gun violence is like a contagious disease, the spread of which can be interrupted.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – shifting current ways of thinking and perceiving perceptions to deal with irrational anger and negative emotions.
- Community-driven crime prevention through architecture and environmental design (CPTED) – investing in safe spaces.
- Hospital-based violence intervention programs (HVIPs) – engaging victims of violence in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic injury via trauma centers and ERs.
- Safe Passage programs – providing safe routes to and from school to reduce student exposure to gun violence.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – shifting current ways of thinking and perceiving perceptions as a way of dealing with anger and negative emotions.
If you are a nurse, therapist, social worker, architect or bus driver, your talents fit right in. Whatever your interests and skills are, there is a place for you. Please check out these organizations and volunteer.
Gun violence is not a crisis, it’s an apocalypse. And it is uniquely American, but as Americans we can move Kilimanjaro if enough of us distribute the weight.
We are sad and determined.