When gun violence erupts, it is easy to feel helpless. But as the crowd assembled in Dayton chanted, we must “Do something.” The causes of mass shootings and gun violence are many—but they include white supremacy, toxic masculinity, inadequate gun safety laws, insufficient protections for victims of family violence, and many other ways in which we fail to love and care for each other.
No one can solve this alone. But we owe it to the victims to do something. Here are a few suggestions:
Provide direct support for the families in Dayton. Earlier this morning, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley announced a need for contributions to support the families of those killed and wounded over the weekend. We wanted to pass along her request and the link to the Dayton Foundation website that is facilitating this effort. Thank you for giving anything you can.
Mayor Whaley and the Dayton City Commission are excellent servants to their community. With Saturday’s tragedy, the destructive tornadoes that ripped through their community in June, and the KKK rally that tried to spread their hate-filled message to the community just days before, there is possibly no municipal government team — both elected officials and first responders — working harder and handling tougher challenges to aide their citizens in 2019. We owe them all a debt of gratitude for their service.
Stand up against the inflammatory hate and bigotry being spewed by a dishonorable state legislator who is blaming this violence on the LGBTQ community that is so often the victim of violence. Thanks to Equality Ohio for that advocacy alert.
Get involved in the effort to enact commonsense gun safety laws in Ohio. We support groups like Moms Demand Action – Ohio and Ohioans for Gun Safety, who are actively advocating for sensible gun legislation in the Ohio Statehouse, recognizing that gun violence is a reproductive justice issue.
Challenge racism and the patriarchy by supporting reproductive justice organizations. The Reproductive Justice movement by women of color is both inspiring and a wonderful source of values to drive policy solutions that we ask legislators to incorporate into their work. In Ohio, we support New Voices for Reproductive Justice and Restoring Our Own Through Transformation as two excellent organizations working to lift up Black women.
Work to end the cycle of violence in our families and intimate partner relationships. While common sense gun control legislation is a first step, we must dismantle the systems which radicalize individuals to take violent action. The toxic masculinity and white supremacy evident in so many acts of violence must also be addressed in order to achieve a society where all can thrive.
Advocate for programs that recognize that the mentally ill are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of gun violence. Donald Trump today falsely placed the blame for these shootings on mental illness, which does not appear to be a factor, but his words do spread harmful stigma that makes matters worse.
Refuse to let our country’s policies demonize migrant workers and tear families apart. From the shooting in El Paso to the separation of families at the southern border, immigrant communities are also being targeted. That is why we support HOLA Ohio, an Ohio grassroots Latino organization focusing on community organizing, leadership development, and civic engagement across northern Ohio.
And lastly, make sure you are registered to vote, and vote in every election like your life and the lives of those you love most depend on it—because they do.