November 2018 Newsletter

 

GRANDPARENTS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE

NEWSLETTER – NOVEMBER 2018
 

Because we are getting to a very busy time of year we are combining the November and December meetings.

 

Guns & America

Monday, December 3, 2018
4:00 – 5:45 p.m. 

Colonial Church in Prairie Village
(lower level, east side at back)

7039 Mission Road

Our guest is Chris Haxel, KCUR reporter and one of 10 Audion Fellows who will spend two years here reporting on the role of guns in American life as part of a new national Guns & America reporting collaborative. The other nine fellows are in public media newsrooms across the country. Chris will talk about his work meeting and interviewing people from all sides of the opinion spectrum about guns.

Thoughts Following a Week of Hate

It is hard to find words to describe the hate-filled events of the week of October 22: pipe bombs mailed to Trump critics, two African American men killed in a parking lot after the perpetrator could not get into a locked black church, and culminating in the unspeakable tragedy on October 27 at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. We have seen too many of these events, prayed after too many, held vigils for too many – and yet here we are again. The combination of polarization, incivility combined with bigotry, hate and legal access to guns is proving to be deadly and heartbreaking.

We cannot ask any more “when will it end?” We must be the change agents to make that happen. And this time, perhaps the tide will finally turn – because this time we have a real opportunity to act and make a difference: VOTE November 6.

FYI  Henry Stoever of PeaceWorks is planning a gathering at the J.C. Nichols Fountain (47th & Main & Broadway) on Saturday, Nov. 3, from Noon – 1:00 pm in memory of the 11 persons killed last Saturday. He is asking us to attend and bring friends.

The Crucial November 6th Election

As you research the candidates, please take time to read this article written by a woman from Pittsburgh, who knows many people who call Tree of Life home. Think about the questions she suggests we pose to our candidates, and later, our elected officials.

5 questions about gun policy that you should be asking your elected officials after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

Though many Kansas voters have already cast their votes, there is still time for those who haven’t, as well as all Missouri voters, to do some research.

You can find gun sense candidates here. You can also check how your current representatives voted by simply entering the legislator’s name into Google, followed by “voting record” (e.g. “Kevin Yoder voting record”). It will take you to the Vote Smart website. This works for both MO and KS.

PLEASE remind your friends and acquaintances to vote. The future of common sense gun regulation rests on the outcome. Remember that pledge card you signed in October!

News You Can Use – About this Election Year!

This midterm year female voters, especially minorities and millennials, rank gun violence among their top concerns, according to a new survey by the YWCA:

    What Women Want 2018

Our own GAGV member, Donna Euston, got her excellent letter published in Sarasota, FL as well as St. Louis, MO and the Kansas City Star:

    Letters to the Editor

Not every candidate wants the NRA endorsement:

    The NRA’s “A” Rating Loses Its Luster for Republican Candidates

And in other news, right here in Kansas City, three of our GAGV members were honored at the first annual 70 Over 70  awards luncheon on October 30, hosted by the Shepherd’s Center Central. Honorees were nominated by community leaders and recognized for their volunteer contributions to various areas of need in Kansas City. Barbara Holzmark, Judy Sherry and Julie Young were recognized for their work in the community and for Grandparents Against Gun Violence.

Community Forum Update

Though it was a very stormy Monday morning, the 5th Annual Community Forum proceeded without a hitch! There was a record crowd of almost 300, and based on the comments and preview of the evaluations, it will probably be recognized as the best Forum we have had to date. We hear that every year… so we know we need to make each Forum bigger and better than the last one. And we will!

The highlights from the 107 completed attendee evaluations include:

  • 99% rated the Forum’s content and format as either excellent (71%) or very good (28%).
  • 91% of the evaluations of speaker Candace Lightner rated her message as either excellent (72%) or very good (19%).
  • 78% rated PlexPod as either excellent (60%) or very good (18%).
    NOTE – finding a facility is always a challenge, so if any of you reading this is a friend, member or an officer of a company or organization that has meeting space suitable for hosting the Forum, please let us know. We want to make as many people happy and comfortable at the Forum as possible.
  • An overview of attendees showed a nice mix: 38% (41) were first-timers; 35% had attended two (19%) or three (15%) previous forums, and 11% had attended all five!
  • Sixty-one people indicated interest in various committees; and 20 said they would like to work on the Forum next year.

Participants left knowing there is a lot that can be done to Change the Conversation, and after reviewing posts made from each table discussion, we developed the following Preliminary Action Steps:

  1. Expand the Heartland Coalition to gain diversity of race, religion and points of view (You can’t always preach to the choir!)
  2. Gather stories of survivors of all forms of gun violence (homicide, suicide, preventable deaths) to make our discussions more personal and relevant.
  3. Continue legislative efforts – local, state, federal. (Stories will help.)
  4. Contact churches and school districts or individual schools about making presentations on gun safety.

We are eager for your input before final decisions are made in January. Please email us with any suggestions.

In addition to group Action Steps, individual actions were also suggested:

  1. Have meaningful conversations by being open-minded and using facts rather than emotions; seek to understand the other’s point of view.
  2. Stand up and speak out at Town Halls/ Council meetings/ PTA meetings, etc.; and continue contacting legislators to oppose bad bills/actions and thank for good ones.
  3. And, of course: VOTE – to replace elected opponents of gun regulation with those who support it.
Here are a few photos from the Forum:

 

Candace Lightner, sharing how she founded MADD.

 

 

Judy Sherry thanking Mayor James for his fifth year with the Forum, with a gift of a GAFV logo-ed bow tie!

 

 

Nick Haines hard at work organizing the questions for the Q & A session.

 

Panel speaking after the keynote address.