Mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio took place within a day of each other in the U.S. this weekend, killing 31 people total. They come a week after a shooting at California’s Gilroy Garlic Festival took four lives, and they are among the 251 mass shootings that have occurred in the country in 2019. The statistics are overwhelming, but there are effective ways to help that go beyond "thoughts and prayers."
If you are in the El Paso or Dayton areas, considering giving blood (if you can) to those wounded or recovering from the shootings. Vitalant in El Paso is taking donors by appointment only because it has reached capacity for walk-ins. However, they'll still need donations to replenish supply. Interested donors can schedule an appointment at bloodhero.com or call 1-877-258-4825. You may even get a free Lyft ride to the clinic.
Yesterday morning, Dayton police said it was working with community blood banks to assist victims.
Donate to victims support funds.
The El Paso Community Foundation set up the El Paso Tragedy Fund to assist people affected by the shooting. The non-profit will work with the County of El Paso and the City of El Paso for aid efforts. The organization will waive administrative fees and pay for credit card fees on donations. Donate here
Paso Del Norte Community Foundation has created the El Paso Victims Relief Fund, which is accepting monetary donations for victims and their families. The city’s police labeled this account the official crowdfunding account to help victims. Donate here.
Contact your senators.
Urge your representatives to take legal action for safer gun laws. The idea of speaking to your legislators on the phone may seem intimidating, but Everytown for Gun Safety has a texting system set up with talking points to help you make your voice heard. Text CHECKS to 644-33 to get connected with your senators’ district office, and receive pointers to help you voice your support for background checks, red flag laws, and common-sense gun safety laws.
It’s time for action: Text CHECKS to 644-33 to be connected to your senators' district offices & tell them to act NOW on common-sense gun safety.— Everytown (@Everytown) August 5, 2019
Why do I have to call my representative?
If you’re phone shy, the potential impact of making your voice heard may change your mind. “The best way to stop a crisis is for our lawmakers to act, and they will only do that when they believe it is a priority for their constituents, or they're motivated by a fear of losing their job,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, explained to BAZAAR.com.
Watts added that Moms Demand Action’s successes—including electing over 1,000 Gun Sense candidates, making the U.S. House of Representatives a Gun Sense majority, and flipping the makeup of seven state legislatures—came from people using their voices and their votes to make change. “This is a democracy; you can't expect other people to do this work for you, but also, there's strength in numbers,” she said.
Taylor King, a gun violence survivor, a Students Demand Action leader, and a member of the Everytown advisory board, told BAZAAR:
“We need to let local level politicians know that we are paying attention to what they're doing, and we care. And so much of that is calling your local representatives; calling your local senators; telling them that you see this piece of legislation and you want them to vote either for or against it; showing up to community hearings; showing up to vote; voicing your support or opposition; and making sure they know that they're not going to be off the hook for decisions they make.”
Sometimes, that can also mean tweeting at your representatives about smaller, less publicized instances of gun violence—such as domestic abuse or suicides—in addition to mass shootings to let them know you're paying attention to the issue.
Donate to or volunteer with grassroots organizations.
Moms Demand Action is a volunteer-led organization under the Everytown for Gun Safety movement. Donations fuel the organization's legislative work, electoral work to get Gun Sense candidates to office, and educational programs such as Be Smart, which teaches people about “responsible gun storage,” according to Watts. If you're interested in joining, check here if there's a local chapter in your state that you can become involved with. Donate
Students Demand Action is also under Everytown for Gun Safety, and created for and by students and young adults. “We all work together to advocate for common sense gun legislation in both local state and national legislatures,” King explains. “We do this through on-the-ground advocacy; traditional lobbying; we write op-eds and letters to the editor; we phone bank; we door knock; we volunteer for Gun Sense candidates; and we also do a lot of community engagement work.”
Other grassroots organizations that Watts and King suggested supporting include: KC Mothers in Charge, Youth Alive!, South Pittsburg Coalition for Peace, Youth Over Guns, B.R.A.V.E. Youth Leaders, and March for Our Lives.
King notes that if there are no local groups in your community fighting for gun reform, you can start one. Students Demand Action has a toolkit for getting started on its website.
You Might Also Like
- The Essential British Packing List
- 30 Facial Moisturizers for Every Budget
- We Cut Bangs on 16 Different Women With The Help of Celebrity Stylist Justine Marjan