Starting June 5th, we will honor the annual National Gun Violence Awareness weekend, by turning our signature red shirts to orange. Orange stands for safety — as it does when people walking in the woods wear orange, to alert hunters of their presence. Orange stands for keeping our children out of the crosshairs of gun violence.
We will wear orange. But we are painfully aware that there is no color that can keep people safe from gun violence — and that the color of your skin puts you in more danger. That we are now living in a world where your neighbor might have a full militia’s worth of weaponry in their house. That the person standing next to you at the cash register could be more dangerously armed more than a police officer.
And that, if you are a person of color, you are far more likely to die of gun violence than anyone else in this country. More than 85 % of Black homicide victims are shot and killed with guns. Unarmed Black civilians are nearly five times more likely to be shot and killed by police than unarmed white civilians.
For me, it is extremely important to become aware of any huge threat to our children’s safety. For Moms Clean Air Force, as I’ve written before, it isn’t about guns. It is about children. Our work centers on air pollution and climate change as threats to our children’s safety. We are focused on the systemic racism — especially, now, the racist radical deregulatory agenda of this EPA — that means that low income, communities of color are more polluted than other places.
And that’s why I want to salute the amazing work done by our sisters and brothers in the gun violence prevention movement. While we are not wading into the policy debates surrounding gun violence prevention, we recognize the need for those who do. Even my dad, long an NRA member, is appalled at the radicalism of the NRA, and supports commonsense measures like background checks, and a ban on military-grade weaponry in the hands of regular people who don’t need it.
I’m saluting work that is difficult — and urgently needed. (Tweet this) Members of Everytown for Gun Safety are often bullied, threatened, demonized, and ridiculed by their opponents. The same thing happens to the scientists and political activists working to end climate pollution. The opposition can be merciless, distorting, and terrifying. Theirs is a dirty way to fight, but sadly, it has become common.
Thankfully, no mom stands alone. No one feels more deeply the need to protect our children than their families do. And it is going to take all of us — mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandfathers and grandmothers, sisters and brothers — to build the world in which we want to live. In the next few years, it will become more and more important for us to stand together, for each other, when it comes to our children’s safety.
There will be many ways to achieve protection. But bottom line: we love our children, and want them safe. That’s what parents can agree on. And that’s powerful.