By Early February, More Americans are Killed With Guns Than are Killed in Other High-Income Countries in an Entire Year; 58 Percent of American Adults or Someone They Care for Have Personally Experienced Gun Violence in Their Lifetimes
More Than Two Hundred Events to Take Place Across the Country; Gun Violence Survivors are Sharing Their Stories at MomentsThatSurvive.org, #MomentsThatSurvive
NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown, along with gun violence survivors, released the following statements today in advance of National Gun Violence Survivors Week. In its second year and taking place February 1-8, National Gun Violence Survivors Week is a week focused on sharing and amplifying the stories of gun violence survivors who live with the impact of gun violence every day of the year. With a gun death rate 11 times greater than other high-income nations, by early February, more Americans are killed with guns than are killed in our peer countries in an entire calendar year.
“Our house will never be a home again because our son was taken by gun violence. He was our pride and joy – nothing can replace him,” said John and Regina Jenkins, members of the Everytown Survivor Network whose son Tre’ Lane was shot and killed on September 22, 2012. Tre’ Lane died a hero, sacrificing his life to save two women. “We’ll never recover from his death, but his life is the fire inside of us that keeps us going. We tell the story of our son because his voice has been silenced and we don’t want another parent to feel the same pain.”
“Valentine’s Day isn’t a day of love for me – it’s a day of heartbreak and remembering the lives that could have been,” said Ivy Schamis, a former longtime teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who was teaching a class about the Holocaust when a gunman shot and killed 17 students, including two in her classrom, and wounded 17 more students. Ivy is also a member of the Everytown Survivor Network. “I tell my story because my students were stripped of the ability to tell theirs. In their honor and with a solemn pledge for ‘never again,’ I vow to carry their legacy on so that our nation’s students can come home safe from school every single day.”
“I first got involved in the gun safety movement as a concerned parent, but when I heard that two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides, I realized I am also a gun violence survivor,” said Sara Macaluso, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network whose father died by suicide when she was 15 years old. “Now, some of the most important work I do is holding space for someone when they, too, realize that they have a survivor story.”
“There are countless stories behind every gun violence statistic — parents who never got to kiss their kids goodbye, gunshot victims living with physical and emotional wounds that will never heal, entire families ripped apart by gun suicide,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown. “During National Gun Violence Survivors Week, we take stock of the terrible human toll of America’s gun violence crisis — and recommit ourselves to supporting survivors with action.”
“Survivor voices are essential to the gun violence prevention movement,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Their bravery and determination inspires us all to keep going, and to do everything we can to make sure no one else experiences the trauma they live with every day.”
The centerpiece of National Gun Violence Survivors Week is Moments That Survive, a year-round digital storytelling site and campaign in which Americans across the country share defining details of their experiences, in their own words. Moments That Survive builds community among gun violence survivors and helps the public understand how everyday life changes as a result of gun violence. All told, 58 percent of American adults or someone they care for have personally experienced gun violence in their lifetimes. Yet as a society, we still struggle to grasp the toll of the crisis beyond statistics or what we see or hear on the news. A new video on Moments That Survive features survivors of gun violence talking about their own experiences and how they came to share their stories.
In the run-up to National Gun Violence Survivors Week, PEOPLE Magazine unveiled Shattered: Gun Violence Survivors Speak Out, featuring Everytown Creative Council Chair Julianne Moore and six gun violence survivors: Carolyn Tuft, Colin Goddard, DeAndra Dycus, Julvonnia McDowell, Lisa Good, and Sara Macaluso. In the feature, these survivors share their personal experiences with gun violence – the devastating stories behind the eye-opening statistics – and their activism for common-sense gun safety.
During National Gun Violence Survivors Week and throughout the month, survivors of gun violence, along with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, will host more than two hundred events across the country elevating the stories of survivors of gun violence.
Dozens of national membership groups, non-profit organizations and faith partners across various issue areas are planning to join the effort in recognition of National Gun Violence Survivors Week, including: American Association of Suicidology, American Federation of Teachers, American Medical Student Association, Amnesty International, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Break the Cycle, Center for American Progress, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Cohen Veterans Network, Community Justice Action Fund, Do Something.org, Equality Federation, Equality Florida, Gays Against Guns, Generation Progress, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, Greater New York Hospital Association, Guns Down America, March For Our Lives, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Council of Jewish Women, National Education Association, National Parent Teacher Association, Newtown Action Alliance, Orange Ribbons for Jamie, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Remembering Darien, Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, This Is Our Lane, The United State of Women and Your Mom Cares.