The past six months have been one of the most awe inspiring, as well as retraumatizing, times in my life. For me, as a wounded survivor of gun violence, it is painful to see how our movement has failed Black communities and other communities of color where the wounded try to gather up the pieces of their lives with few resources and little support. Meanwhile, after school shootings in largely white communities, extensive resources flow in. In some cases, these resources have equalled the cost of building three new schools.
I know that I am not alone in feeling this pain and frustration. I also know that every day, I am joined by dedicated state affiliate staff and supporters to continue the work of gun violence prevention. There have been new partnerships made, and new conversations are being held about what policies look like–not just for white communities–but for all communities. The next five months will find all of us fighting as hard as we can, with both new and existing partners, to get out the vote. We are moving in a good direction, but we must do more to transform this movement.
In January of 2020, the Board of Directors of States United to Prevent Gun Violence and I began the difficult work of having conversations around Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. The beauty of States United is that we come to this work from different places. That also brings challenges that we must overcome. We have added new board members, and are in conversation with potential new board members. We are looking at the fences that we have put in the way of diversifying not only our board, but our work. We are hiring a consultant to help us.
Gun violence is a public health problem and always has been. We all have the essential human right to live free of gun violence. To succeed in our work, we must tear down old ways of communication and build new.
We have committed to the work of painful discussions followed up by actions. We dream of doing no more harm, and acknowledge that we need help.
I hope you will all engage with us during this new time of building anew.