In the aftermath, some are asking cynically if a return to normal life after the pandemic will mean a return to regular mass shootings in the United States. What a sad statement this is about our nation’s dire gun violence problem.
If you want to help to combat this problem and join in the fight to stop mass shootings, here are a few ways you can make a difference:
Lobby your legislators to support sensible gun reform:
Urge legislators to fight for universal background checks, for national red-flag laws and to pass a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines:
- Here’s all you need to know about the best ways to tell Congress gun laws need to change.
- The Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence suggests contacting Senator Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader and demand that he brings Congress back from summer recess to act. Text “EMERGENCY” to 877-877 to be connected to his office.
- Giffords will patch you through to your senators directly and you can use their calling script to make your voice heard.
- Look for your senator’s contact information here and your representative’s information here, and write to them.
- And, if you live in Illinois, here’s an easy way to reach your officials using a simple online form.
Help make our public spaces safer by joining the fight alongside one of these groups:
- Every Town for Gun Safety represents more than 4 million mayors, moms, cops, teachers, survivors, gun owners, and everyday Americans who have come together to make their own communities safer by fighting for the changes that will save lives.
- The Courage To Fight Gun Violence was started by U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others after she was shot during a visit with constituents at a mall in her district.
- San Francisco’s Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence offers legal assistance to people trying to make their communities safer from gun violence.
- Mom’s Demand Action For Gun Sense In America is similar to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), and was founded in response to the Sandy Hook school shooting by one mother and quickly spread. Chapters are now in every state.
- Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence is the oldest, largest statewide organization committed to changing laws and behavior in order to reduce the devastating effect firearms have on our society.
Improve our mental health public safety net by supporting these organizations and initiatives:
- NoStigmas: This is a global peer-to-peer support network committed to eliminating the stigma that surrounds mental illness and creating more sources of mental health support.
- The Rush Hospital West Side Total Health Collaborative: Rush and other medical institutions put mental health professionals in schools on Chicago’s underserved West Side.
- Text-A-Tip Hotline: Mental health professionals respond to anonymously sent tips within minutes of receipt to help anyone suffering with mental illness. Started in collaboration with schools, clergy, public safety officials, and parents in Lake Forest, this program has spread across the Chicago region and the country.
Foster more opportunity for your city’s youth. Support or volunteer with one of the following organizations:
- Better Philanthropy Award Winners are a great start: Academy For Global Citizenship, Bernie’s Book Bank, BUILD, By The Hand Club For Kids, Crushers Club, Girls In The Game, Horizons For Youth, Innovations For Learning, James B. Moran Center For Youth Advocacy, Mothers Trust Foundation, Northwestern University Settlement House, Phalen Leadership Academy, Posse Foundation, SitStayRead, Spark Program, Youth Outreach Umbrella
- The following organizations are also doing incredible work for Chicago’s youth and would greatly appreciate your time or financial support: A Better Chicago, Boys Club/Girls Club, Chicago Public Education Foundation, Evanston & North Shore YWCA, Ingenuity & the Be Creative Campaign, Invest For Kids, McGaw YMCA, YMCA of Greater Chicago
If you or someone you know is struggling, help them find support:
- NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the U.S.’s largest grassroots mental health organization and provides many services, including a helpline and educational programs, to help people struggling with mental health in our nation.
- Know how to talk to kids about mass shootings.