Mothers all over the country are mourning the loss of 19 fourth-graders and two teachers massacred in the latest school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. If you’re like us, you haven’t been able to think of much else. You go back and forth between bouts of crying and anger. You don’t want your children out of your sight and the thought of dropping them off at school makes your heart sink.
As a parent of a 10-year-old fourth-grader, I can’t stop thinking about the insurmountable loss these parents in Texas are experiencing. I can’t stop thinking about what these poor, terrified children must have been thinking and feeling when this happened. My 10-year-old—those 10-year-olds—were only just babies when Sandy Hook happened. I vividly remember holding my son in my arms while I watched the news in horror. I hugged him tight and thought to myself ‘how am I ever going to send you to school in a world like this?’ And I have thought about it every single day since. It’s a horror scene imprinted on the psyche of the American mother, and we all just hope and pray we won’t be next.
I am one of the lucky ones. Last night, I went into both of my sons’ bedrooms, sat on their beds, and watched them as they slept. I held each boy’s hand with one hand as I wiped tears from my eyes with the other. And I decided that sitting there, feeling helpless and hopeful that it would never affect us the way it is affecting the families in Uvalde right now isn’t going to change a thing.
Enough is enough. Uvalde is the 27th school shooting this year. It’s only May. Firearms are now the leading cause of death of children in the United States. I am done waiting for the laws to change. We can be shocked, we can be sad, we can mourn, but then we need to wipe away our tears and we need to act. We are mothers. Who is more powerful than those who bring life into the world? If we work together, we can make a change. Here is how you can help:
Help the Victims’ Families
Nothing we do now can give these families what they really need, but we can give monetarily to verified fundraisers that pay for funeral costs and other expenses:
- VictimsFirst is a network of families affected by mass shootings spanning the last two decades. Their mission is to ensure 100 percent of monetary donations go directly to the victim base and that the wounded and injured are protected from fraud and exploitation, both of which sadly accompany these tragedies. Funds collected are given to the families in cash payments with no strings attached. You can donate here.
- Here is a compilation of verified fundraisers for individuals and families affected by the Robb Elementary School shooting. You can donate directly to the victims’ families or give to a fundraiser that’s supporting the Uvalde community at large.
- The Robb School Memorial Fund is raising money through an official account with the First State Bank of Uvlade. Checks payable to Robb School Memorial Fund can be mailed to PO Box 1908, Uvalde, TX 78802
- You can also donate via Zelle to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you live in south Texas, the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center is asking for blood donations. Due to an overwhelming response to the school shooting, donations for appointments are full through the Memorial Day weekend, but the need for more blood will continue. You can make an appointment at SouthTexasBlood.org or by calling 210-731-5590.
Support Causes creating a real impact from the bottom up, and most importantly, use your voice.
- Donate to Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement of more than 8 million supporters fighting to end gun violence through public safety measures and stronger gun laws. Through May 31, Mike Bloomberg will triple-match all donations.
- Donate to Everytown.org, an organization that seeks gun violence prevention in every state through educating communities, enacting smart gun policies, demanding action from elected officials and more. Now through May 31, Mike Bloomberg will triple-match any monetary gift.
- March For Our Lives was founded by the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Demand our elected officials pass universal background checks and common-sense gun laws. March in Washington DC or in your community on June 11. For more info, click here or text MARCH to 954-954
- Contact your local representatives and voice your concerns. Find your representative here.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, this script can act as your template to organize your thoughts and say what you need to say. Grab a pen (or your laptop) and follow these steps:
- Gather the details. Once you have the name of your representative, you’ll want to clearly identify what you want them to do. Whether you want to see the enactment of more thorough background checks (H.R. 8, known as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act), red flag laws, the banning of AR-15s and other semi-automatic weapons (Assault Weapons Ban), or simply gun reform as a whole, be ready to state your thoughts.
- Personalize it. Perhaps the most important piece in your letter is explaining why gun reform is important to you. This is your opportunity to offer personal experiences and convictions that have led you to this point of concern. And while your passion is beautiful, try to keep emotions in check while delivering your request. This is certainly easier said than done, but it’s important that they hear you loud and clear.
- Practice beforehand. It’s impossible not to get choked up or enraged when discussing school shootings and our current gun policies in the U.S. Allow yourself time to run through your script a few times before making the call.
- Be brief and respectful. The staff member taking your call will likely listen, record your request and say thank you. They are not there to challenge your opinion. Timeliness is also your friend, so try to stick to the script.
If you’d rather email your representative (phone calls are not for everyone), you can find their email contact using the same Find Your Representative tool. Whichever method you choose, the below script can help you get started.
Hello, my name is (name), and I am from (city, state). I am calling today as both a constituent and concerned citizen to speak about the epidemic of gun violence in our country. I am devastated by the Uvalde school shooting and am urging (representative name) to take action and protect the safety of the American people by advocating for (action item).
This is deeply important to me because ___________.
Thank you for your time.
Another way to contact your officials is through Resistbot, a texting platform that asks you a series of questions and compiles a letter to the representative of your choice in two minutes. Text RESIST to 50409 to get started, or you can chat directly to the bot via Apple Messages, Telegram, Twitter or Messenger.
We don’t have to live this way. Together, we can continue to fight against gun violence and pursue a better future for our children.
Image courtesy of Everytown