By TMoM Team Member Rachel Hoeing
Last week broke the hearts of America once again as we heard the news of innocent children and teachers being shot and killed within their school. As most of you know, we try our best to steer clear of politics and current events on Triad Moms on Main. We want our website to be a safe, supportive, and uplifting space for all. But knowing that we are mothers, and that we are concerned about the safety of our children, we felt it was important to share this blog.
My daughter attends Mount Tabor High School, and was in attendance on Sept. 1, 2021, when one student targeted, shot, and killed a second student in the hallways of our beloved school. The actual event was different in the fact that it was not a shooter with a motive to randomly shoot and kill anyone in their path, but many of the immediate and long term effects are the same.
When one of these horrific events occurs, I mourn for the children and staff whose lives were lost, and their families who experienced this tremendous grief. I question “Why?” over and over again. My heart always goes out to the teachers, staff, and law enforcement who worked so hard to keep children safe and make incredibly quick decisions during these unexpected incidents.
One group of people who I never really thought about until we experienced it ourselves, were the survivors. What about the students and staff who watched everything happen? We are grateful that they were able to leave the situation alive, but do we really understand what the future holds for these survivors and their families? Do we realize all their lives are changed forever? I have seen firsthand the emotional and mental anguish this has had on thousands of students and families across our city.
What’s the Answer?
The bottom line is that things have to change. I don’t believe there is one right answer. I believe there are many right answers. If we can all work together to make small changes, the lasting effects can be huge.
No matter who I speak to, whether they are an adult or a child, whether they are a teacher or a police officer, whether they are Democrat or Republican … it seems that everyone ultimately has the same goal of making our country a safer place for all.
My hope is that we can combine our goals, and all come together for the greater good. I hope we can have thoughts and prayers AND policy and change. I hope we can focus on mental health improvements AND gun safety. Lastly, I hope we can all put our children first and stop worrying about which political side is correct.
I’ve gathered some resources with the help of others in our community. Let’s start working together today to create change to keep our children safe.
Facts about gun violence
- Guns are the leading cause of death among American children and teens. (source)
- One out of ten gun deaths are age 19 or younger. (source)
- About 124 people die from a firearm-related injury every day. (source)
- 6 million American children live in homes with guns that are both loaded and unlocked. (source)
- Every year, nearly 700 children, 17 and under, die by suicide with a gun. (source)
- Women in the U.S. are 28 times more likely to be killed by guns than women in other high-income countries. (source)
Volunteer + Support Locally
- Wear Orange on Friday, June 3rd for National Gun Violence Awareness Day: wearorange.org
- Local Wear Orange events at Simon’s Green Acre Community Garden at the Enterprise Center (1922 S Martin Luther King Jr Drive, Winston-Salem 27107):
- 8:00 am: Morning Meditation & Yoga Invoking Love with Dalen X of Ensured Evolution (bring yoga mat)
- 11:30 am: “Finding Space to Heal” with Alexia Mitchell of Reset and Heal
- 6:30 pm: Ribbon cutting & candlelight vigil dedication for Our Space to Heal, dedicated to victims and survivors of gun violence in Winston-Salem
- Find additional ways to participate in Wear Orange here: wearorange.org/ways-to-participate
- Create your own #WearOrange image here: wearorange.org/wear-orange
- Get involved with gun violence prevention coalition Our Opportunity To Love + Heal, working collaboratively to end gun violence in Winston-Salem.
- Bring no-cost, non-partisan Know the Signs Programs through Sandy Hook Promise to your school, church, or community organization.
- Start a SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) Promise Club at your school or incorporate programming into an existing club.
Volunteer + Support Nationally
- Take action to end gun violence nationally with Everytown for Gun Safety: act.everytown.org/sign/volunteer-form
- Volunteer with Moms Demand Action, the grassroots arm of Everytown: momsdemandaction.org/start-here
- Get involved with Sandy Hook Promise: sandyhookpromise.org/take-action/get-involved and learn about their programs: sandyhookpromise.org/our-programs/program-overview
- Know how to BeSMART for kids: the BeSMART framework is designed to help parents and adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible actions that can keep children safe by preventing child gun deaths and injuries: besmartforkids.org
- Call on your elected officials to pass commonsense legislation that can help keep our children safe. This can be done while upholding second amendment rights.
- Make A Voting Plan to be a Gun Sense Voter this November: gunsensevoter.org/make-my-plan
Mental Heath and Gun Violence
Effects on Children
School Shootings Are Raising Anxiety and Panic in U.S. Children
Report: Invisible Wounds
Gun Violence and Community Trauma among Black Americans
When the Shooting Stops
The Impact of Gun Violence on Survivors in America
Everytown Research & Policy
Report: Gun Violence in America
Gun Safety Policies Save Lives
Which states have the ideal laws to prevent gun violence?
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund (national)
Our Opportunity to Love + Heal (local)
Sandy Hook Promise (national)
Thank you for working together to keep all of our children safe.