What Are We Doing?

“I am so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I am tired of the moments of silence. Enough.”
—Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors coach

Yesterday, barely a week after racist shootings in Buffalo, NY, and Laguna Woods, CA, our team was once again texting about what to say in the wake of another mass shooting. At the time of writing, 19 children and two adults have lost their lives. What can we possibly say that will make a difference? We’ve sent emails after Parkland, and the Pulse nightclub massacre. After the shooting at a Las Vegas music festival, we even released a series on the role of youth-serving community organizations in promoting gun safety and violence prevention. Could we really just send out another email, if nothing ever changes?

Yet we are a company that exists to protect children. And we are a social enterprise that believes in the power of social change. We can neither stay silent, nor can we rely on words alone. So we’re going to try something different:

If you’re someone who does not believe in any form of gun reform, then we invite you to close this email. There is nothing we can say that is likely to change your mind. And we will defend your right to your opinions. Instead, we are addressing those of you—meaning the majority of this country, including many Republicans and gun owners—who do believe that something has to change. Who do believe that we can regulate guns, just as we regulate for seat belts and airbags and smoke alarms and food safety. We understand the impulse to feel defeated. We understand the fatigue, sadness and sense of powerlessness. And we understand that it can be hard to see a way forward after such horrors.

But if, like us, you believe we can do better—if you believe that we can balance legitimate 2nd Amendment rights with the safety and well-being of our children—then we ask you to not give in to defeatism. We encourage you to take the anger and frustration you feel, and to channel that into demands for action. So even as we offer prayers and condolences, support and love, to those affected by this latest violence, we are also remembering that faith without works is dead. Please, join us in saying that enough is enough. Here’s just some of what you can do:

  • Call your Senators and ask them to pass the House-passed bills, HR 1446 and HR 8
  • Donate to common-sense gun reform organizations that match your views on potential changes
  • Use your position within your organizations, your faith groups and your community to start a conversation about how we can possibly move things forward

Around the same time that Steve Kerr was giving a press conference, and parents in Uvalde were waiting to find out if their child would be coming home, Senator Chris Murphy was pleading with Congress to finally get something done:

“What are we doing?” he asked, pointedly. We are asking ourselves the same question. If there is one lesson from Uvalde, and atrocities like it, it’s that life is precious, and life is short.

Let’s make our time here count.