by Kathie England

Victim…or Agent of Change?

One small step to reduce gun violence

When you heard about the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, how did you feel?

Sad? Angry? Frustrated/ Hopeless? Helpless?

Guns are now the leading cause of death for American children and teens!  Studies cited by Nicholas Kristof find that “American children and teenagers are 57 percent more likely to die young compared with children and teenagers in other advanced countries. Americans aged 15 to 19 are 82 times as likely to be shot dead as similar-age teens in our peer countries.”

Do you feel even sadder, angrier, more frustrated, more hopeless, and more helpless after reading these statistics?

One mom, Shannon Watts, decided to embrace her emotions and become an agent of change. She founded Mom’s Demand Action, the nation’s first and largest grassroots movement fighting against gun violence. Her movement has become one of the most powerful counter-movements the gun lobby has ever faced.

I invite you to listen to a recent interview with Shannon Watts by Glennon Doyle in her podcast We Can Do Hard Things. The interview is titled: “How We’ll Save Our Kids from the Gun Lobby’s Greed.”

One perspective Shannon provides is the power of action at the state level. Her perspective inspired me to embrace the efforts of Lift Every Voice, an Oregon-based organization with Initiative Petition 17 (IP 17) titled Reduction of Gun Violence Act. A primary goal of this organization right now is to gather enough signatures to get IP 17 on Oregon’s November ballot.

I signed IP 17 and made two donations. I sent emails inviting others to sign and donate too. I challenged them to send an invitation to at least ten other people they know who might be willing to do the same. July 8 is the deadline to gather the required number of signatures. Lift Every Voice estimated that 200-300 volunteers were needed as well as $500,000 in the bank to accomplish this goal. As of June 16 Lift Every Voice had 1400 volunteers spread throughout every county in Oregon and had collected 70,000 of the 140,000 signatures needed to qualify for Oregon’s November ballot.

We have a choice – to be a victim or an agent of change!

As a strong believer in the power of small steps to create profound change, I invite you take one small step to support Moms Demand Action and Lift Every Voice!