July 2019 Newsletter

JULY 2019 NEWSLETTER

GRANDPARENTS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE

SUPPORTING OUR LGBTQ COMMUNITY

Monday, July 22
4:00 – 5:45 p.m.
Colonial Church in Prairie Village
(lower level, east side at back)
7039 Mission Road

Of our community’s vulnerable populations, those who identify as LGBTQ are among the most at risk. Young LGBTQ people are three times more likely than their straight peers to attempt suicide, according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE). Lesbian, gay and bi-sexual young people from families that reject them are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families accept them. And as we know, suicide accounts for the largest share of gun-related deaths.

How to reach and protect this vulnerable population is the mission of this month’s speaker, Kim Shaw-Ellis, diversity officer in the Kansas City, MO, Police Department. She may be a unit of only one, but she’s mighty and passionate in her role as a liaison among minority communities feeling under-served and voiceless. Officer Shaw-Ellis wants “every community and every person in the city to feel safe and know that the KCPD is here to protect and serve all.”

GAGV is committed to supporting all suicide prevention efforts including those of Officer Shaw-Ellis. Join us for her presentation Helping Our LGBTQ Youth Thrive and Survive.

SPECIAL NOTE: After the meeting, head to Panera at 8300 Mission Road and Dine for a Cause. Enjoy socializing with your fellow activists and at the same time raise money for GAGV. Panera will donate 20% of your purchase to GAGV. Download the flyer; you’ll need to show a paper copy or the electronic version when you order. Thanks in advance!

ADVOCACY CORNER

The excellent presentations of State Representatives Stephanie Clayton (KS) and Judy Morgan (MO) on the good, the bad and the ugly of their respective legislative sessions at our June meeting prompted our Advocacy Action. Meeting attendees signed a Petition for Common Sense Gun Regulations to send to our federally elected officials from both states. Download the petition, then sign and mail to your representatives.

Reps. Clayton and Morgan offered these additional advocacy tips:

  • Know your state representative and meet personally with him or her.
  • Use summer months when state sessions are over and Congress has recessed to contact your elected officials.
  • Know the players. Ask your representative who he or she is supporting for Speaker and committee chairs. Those leaders determine whether bills move through or die in committees.
  • Keep your communication concise. Although legislators are receptive to all forms of communication, emails are preferred; short messages are fine. Be aware most legislators pay most attention to their own constituents.
  • Be patient. Good legislation can often take seven years to pass.

June meeting minutes.


AND THE GAGV OSCAR FOR VIDEO PRODUCTION GOES TO…

Madison Mustoe, the multi-talented 2019 graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School who will be attending the University of Kansas this fall. Madison filmed and edited a three-minute video for GAGV emphasizing the critical need for gun owners to safely store all firearms in their homes.

See the video here or on the GAGV website. Please share on your social media!

Left: GAGV member Gail Roberson, who guided the video project, presents the Oscar replica to Madison Mustoe.

Right: Madison Mustoe and her proud mom Corie were introduced at the June meeting.

Mark Your Calendars

Monday, August 26 – GAGV Monthly Meeting – Suicide Awareness Month 

Hear from local teen Claire Tietgen and her father Charlie Tietgen about her road to recovery.

Monday, September 23 – GAGV Monthly Meeting – Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Learn how Johnson County, KS, saw dramatic results after changing how it assessed the danger levels of domestic abuse. Megan Ahsens, an assistant district attorney specializing in domestic violence cases, will explain.

Monday, October 14 – 6th Annual Community Forum

Sponsored by the Heartland Coalition Against Gun Violence, a program of Grandparents Against Gun Violence, at the Best Conference Center on the KU Edwards Campus at 126th & Quivira Road in Overland Park.

We’re excited to confirm two important new speakers will participate in the Forum:

  • U.S. Representative Sharice Davids (D-KS) will open the Forum marking its first time in Kansas.
  • Sari Kaufman, who survived the February 2017 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, will share her experiences from that day and her activities since. Sari helped plan the first March for Our Lives event and has served on the national board of Students Demand Action (SDA). Members of the local SDA chapter will join us as well.

Learn how you can attend and help sponsor this important Forum.

Spread the word by sharing the Save the Date with family and friends. Individual tickets go on sale August 26, 2019.

    News You Can Use 

    If you missed our April meeting when John Ham of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) explained the various types of firearms, watch this segment from “60 Minutes”

    about the AR-15, the weapon used in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting:

    What Makes the AR-15 Style Rifle the Weapon of Choice for Mass Shooters?

    Before our July program, read some positive news about LGBTQ issues.

    First ever PRIDE picnic in Johnson County, KS:

    LGBTQ Groups In Johnson County, Kansas, Host First Picnic With Lots Of Pride

    Transgender people born in Kansas can now change their birth certificates:

    Kansas to allow trans residents to change birth certificates

    Learn where all the Democratic presidential primary candidates stand on gun issues. Be sure to extend your screen view to see all seven issues.

    In their own words: where the 2020 candidates stand on gun safety

    INTRODUCING MORE “MEMBERS OF THE MOMENT”: ANN NELSON AND MARY MARNETT

    If you attend GAGV meetings regularly, you’ll recognize the faces of Ann Nelson and Mary Marnett because they attend virtually every one. Ann and Mary are friends and neighbors in Fairway, KS, who share a passion for ending gun violence. Ann is one of GAGV’s founding members; Mary joined three years ago at Ann’s invitation.

    “When Mary moved into our apartment building, we became instant friends and realized we shared political and humanitarian beliefs,” Ann said. Today, the two friends consistently show up and speak out supporting GAGV’s efforts, attending vigils and rallies and sending postcards to legislators.

    Right: Ann and Mary at our Gun Violence Awareness Day demonstration at J.C. Nichols Fountain.

    For years both have been committed to reducing the proliferation of guns. Mary’s commitment began after the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy at the hands of a gunman using a $19.95 mail-order rifle. Ann’s involvement began when she joined the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence after the March 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, which severely injured his press secretary, James Brady.

    Ann is a runner and bicyclist who also plays piano and cello duets with friends. “It helps my peace of mind as do the efforts I make in GAGV,” Ann said. “I am passionate about going door-to -door to get out the vote to elect candidates that believe in ending gun violence.”

    As for Mary, who recently turned 90, today’s activism gives her a sense of coming full circle. “I protest, call my legislators, write postcards, attend rallies and I vote, trying to change the world,” she said. “I met my first husband while on a picket line, so I’m back where I started!”

    The two friends also volunteer together once a month for the Yes We Can group at Harvesters food bank. “We work a lot and we laugh a lot,” Ann said. “I am lucky to have a buddy like Mary.”

    And we’re lucky to have them as fellow GAGV members!












    Left: Ann and her granddaughter. Right: Mary displaying two of her favorite books.

    THANK YOU, GAGV MEMBERS!

    Like the memberships of Ann and Mary, your membership fuels all our myriad efforts to educate the public about gun violence, participate in efforts to reduce its staggering impact on children and advocate for needed change. So this month we’re beginning a regular feature to spotlight new and renewing members. Here’s the roster for June; to the dozens who joined or renewed earlier this year, our many thanks!

    New family members: Nora Baker, Marsha Herman and Rebecca Hughes

    New individual members: Carol Kaplan, Donna Murphy, Robert White, Helen Wilson and Edward Winkler

    Renewing family members: Stevi Brick and Betty Crooker

    Renewing individual members: Amy Axtel, Carol Gee, Sharon Katz, Debra Rubin and Marva Shelton