I’m excited tonight, which is an odd word to use in light of what I’m about to say we were just at, but it’s the word I am going with anyway.
Two weekends ago, Dr. Marry and I went to Pride in the Park because we both agree that it’s not enough to just be a GLBTQ ally on social media. It’s easy to claim things and be righteous and/or indignant, but if you are unwilling to take any action, to give of your time, your talents, your treasures or your voice, then what the hell are you really doing? I don’t want to be a fair weather advocate for the things I believe in or want to see change.
I’m now of the age where I have to realistically look at the mess my generation has created and decide if I want to help fix it or leave it for the next generation to shake their collective fists at us over. Hint: I’m a fixer, and I’m rolling up my sleeves for a number of causes that matter to me locally and beyond.
So we were at the Pride event and came across the Moms Demand Action booth to end gun violence. I had recently started following our local chapter’s Facebook page and was happy to meet them in person. We signed up for their newsletter, and then we went one step further: we agreed to attend a monthly meeting, which happened to be tonight.
Let me promise you that the last thing in the world I need is one more thing that occurs after work hours, but I know that I am not alone in that, and I also know that it’s not enough to write about how furious I am over our inability to manage our gun situation. Many people are furious about that; in fact, I have to believe that just about everyone is furious about that—even those who are rabidly pro-gun and pro-second amendment likely don’t think our current violent killing spree is acceptable.
So Dr. Marry and I went out to a simple dinner and then went to this meeting, having no idea what to expect. I ran in to a few people I knew, met some new people who were all there for various and interesting reasons. For example, one woman I knew from years ago said that she was in upper elementary school when President Kennedy, Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy were shot, and she started advocating for smarter gun laws then. Think about how long this has been an issue!
We wrote postcards to our State Senators, encouraging them to vote for common sense gun laws when the opportunity arises. I don’t have terrific faith that either of the men who represent my state (they certainly don’t represent me!) will vote that way; in fact, I can guarantee that they won’t, but it felt so damn good to be doing something instead of just being outraged through my computer that I was happy even to write to them.
I left the meeting tonight filled with some hope that I might actually be a tiny piece of the change I want to see in the world. There are so many important challenges I can’t control or change: the border atrocity, our blatant racism, the environment, our failing education system…but this group provided action items I could pursue in the moment and beyond. I left with a sense of progress and purpose, however small.
One hundred people a day die by gun violence in this country; that’s mass shootings, domestic violence, police shootings, gang- and addiction-related disputes, random and accidental shooters and those who die by suicide. I know there are no easy answers or solutions to this issue, but I also know that until we demand change, those who benefit from the status quo will continue to hold the power. I’m here to help topple the power, and I’m ready, willing and so grateful to get to work.