AUGUST 4, 2020

The news out of cities like New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and St. Louis all reflect the same crisis of gun violence in communities of color. Babies and toddlers have been shot on sidewalks and in moving cars. Fathers, high school graduates, mourners at funerals, young children visiting their grandparents… the stories of the lives lost are numerous and each one is heartbreaking.

It’s not just this summer, and it’s not just Covid. The results of inaction, systemic racism, and an unwillingness to change are borne out by the data that we have compiled on gun homicide among Black men and teens between 2009-2018.

The numbers are irrefutable and are a cause for national shame. We have turned our backs on community-led programs that work in favor of more and more policing. We have poured our resources into largely white communities after mass shootings while ignoring the daily toll–both physical and psychological–of gun violence in Brown and black communities. We have called the problem “intractable” and have insisted that we wouldn’t know where to begin, when leaders in the affected communities began long ago and have been leading the way all along.

Help us live the ideals of Black Lives Matter by making sure the lives of those lost to gun violence also matter. Take a look at the data. Read the stories. Say their names. And then share this information and commit to centering Black and brown leaders who have been doing this work for longer than anyone should have to.

The Community Justice Action Fund

Advance Peace

These local and nation organizations working in violence intervention

JULY 1, 2020

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.

JUNE 19, 2020

Today is Juneteenth, the anniversary of the day in 1865 when more than a quarter-million people enslaved people in Texas learned that they had gained their freedom two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Now, 155 years later, people of color in America are still waiting for liberation–from oppressive systems that have left communities reeling from a combination of violence and the Covid pandemic, systems that abuse and brutalize when the should protect, systems that sit by when Black Americans are 10 times more likely to die by gun homicide than white Americans.

Today, we invite you to join us in National Day of Healing to address the layers of trauma, devastation, loss, and broken-heartedness that communities are experiencing. During this monumental event, organizers will honor and memorialize loved ones lost and teach self-care techniques to help all of us heal and gather strength for the difficult times ahead. States United to Prevent Gun Violence is honored to be a sponsor of this event.

For information on the National Day of Healing and additional events happening today and this weekend, please visit:

National Day of Healing (rallies and other actions happening throughout the country on 6/19) (Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington Virtual Gathering)

We cannot counter gun violence without calling out the racism that allows it to flourish in communities of color. We must support the people who are directly impacted, heal our own broken hearts, and prepare ourselves for the work to come.