It may sound a bit odd to sit around drinking lattes and talking about guns, but it’s actually extremely comforting. Chatting about violence, suicide, and death is never pleasant so why not wrap your hands around a good cup of coffee? It did seem to make it easier for a circle of women to open up about our worries about guns in south Florida as victims, advocates, and human beings.
This was my first Mom’s Demand Action meeting. I’ve been wanting to learn more about this group ever since I heard about it, but life is busy and even learning about really important things fall to the wayside. So here it is, 2017 and I’m at my first meeting of a group that formed in 2012. Yes, I’m five years behind!
MOMS was founded by an actual mom Shannon Watts in response to the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Their goal is to end the epidemic of gun violence that affects every community.
In midtown’s Pasión del Cielo I learned the “why” behind each of these women’s involvement. Some were terrified by the harsh reality of Sandy Hook. Schools, even for little ones, aren’t always safe. Their kids now participate in drills at school to prepare them for a mass shooting. Others are learning how to ask the parents of their children’s friends if they keep guns in the home. They don’t want their kids playing in a home with a gun. Makes sense to me. They have friends or family that have used a gun to commit suicide. Some worried about the legislature expanding gun use in the colleges where their children attend.
Me? My “why” is that I don’t like that kids, especially children of color, in poor neighborhoods, are more likely to become victims of gun violence than any other sort of kid. Now that I’m on PACT’s countywide Gun Violence Reduction Steering Committee, I worry about how we can stem the flow of violence on a regular basis.
The more I learn about how sensible gun laws could reduce this violence, the more shocked I am at those who want guns everywhere, even in the hands of college students. How is that a good idea? Since that meeting, we’ve spent several months on pins and needles, watching as a few legislators make it their mission to make it easier to carry guns that can kill innocent people. Thanks to the efforts of groups like MOMS and to the votes of south Florida’s Dade Delegation, Tallahassee closed out the 2017 session with some very big wins for gun safety in Florida.
Open carry: DEFEATED
Guns on campus: DEFEATED
Guns at airports: DEFEATED
Guns in elementary, middle, and high schools: DEFEATED
If you want to learn more and celebrate these successes, please join them on Miami Beach on June 3 for Miami Wears Orange, a family event to support a Miami free of gun violence. You’ll see an awesome musical performance of Guitars over Guns. Kids can make a special art project. Bring your mat for yoga. We’ll be coming together with a Namaste rather than a latte this time as we work towards a city free of gun violence.