Today, we woke up to the devastating news of another mass shooting – this time in Indianapolis. Earlier this week, against the backdrop of the Derek Chauvin trial, Daunte Wright, an unarmed Black man, was shot by a police officer in a Minneapolis suburb, and chilling footage has come to light showing the killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo by a Chicago police officer. Nationwide in the month of March alone, according to CNN, there have already been 45 mass shootings, while everyday gun violence takes the lives of more than 100 Americans each and every day. Again and again, we see gun violence and racism wreak havoc – shattering the lives, health and safety of our communities.
Yet, we dare to believe this may be a different moment. Increased public awareness of everyday gun violence, mass shootings and police shootings of unarmed Black people has fueled protests, petitions and outraged calls for real shifts in public policy. The president’s recent executive orders signal the Administration’s commitment to passing the first federal gun safety laws in 25 years. We are especially gratified to see that the orders acknowledge everyday community gun violence as a public health issue that disproportionately affects community of color. The orders build on years of organizing by advocates and successful policymaking in California that is yielding real results by reducing gun violence.
Let’s make the most of this moment. Nationwide, we must continue pushing for sensible gun laws, strengthen gun violence restraining orders and regulate the sales of firearms and ammunition. We must do the research to learn the root causes of gun violence like our partner at the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center, recognizing that gun violence is a public health issue – preventable once we understand the factors that contribute to it. We must continue supporting intervention strategies that reimagine public health, such as the work of Advance Peace, and move resources to violence intervention strategies proven to make communities safer.
And we must never accept gun violence as normal. As a health funder, we are proud to stand with other funders and allies like the Joyce Foundation, Hope and Heal and Arnold Ventures, who invest resources in organizations that are reimagining public safety. For the past 27 years, we’ve provided more than $150 million to support programs and organizations that have created cutting edge programs that interrupt violence and cultivate community safety. These programs are reducing gun violence, addressing trauma, promoting justice informed healing, and challenging racially charged policing. We welcome an opportunity to share our experience funding in this area.
No matter who you are, you can raise your voice, invest your resources and take a stand to end gun violence. We encourage you to educate yourself and engage with some of our partners who are working on behalf of community safety and racial justice.
Live Free (Faith in Action)
Community Justice Reform Coalition
Health Alliance for Violence Intervention (HAVI)
Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence
Everytown for Gun Safety
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Violence Prevention Research Program, University of California, Davis