As the Organization Moves Into the Next Decade of Advocacy and After 10 Years As a Full-Time Volunteer, Moms Demand Action Founder Shannon Watts To Step Back From Leadership Role At The End Of 2023
As 2023 State Legislative Season Kicks Off, First Gun Safety Advocacy Day Begins This Week in Virginia; Next Up, Arizona and Maryland
NEW YORK – This year, Moms Demand Action, the grassroots arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, will celebrate its tenth year of activism throughout 2023 by rallying with volunteers at state houses and hosting events across the country to honor #10YearsOfMoms. This year-long celebration will kick off later this week in Virginia with the organization’s first advocacy day of the 2023 legislative session, followed by additional advocacy day events in Arizona and Maryland later this month.
As the organization moves into its next decade of advocacy, Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, today announced that 2023 will be her final year as a full-time volunteer and leader. Now one of the largest grassroots movements in the country, Moms Demand Action, as part of Everytown for Gun Safety, has nearly 10 million supporters and tens of thousands of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers in every state.
“Over the past decade, our grassroots army has changed the political calculus, sidelined the NRA, and passed hundreds of gun safety bills at all levels of government. And after the mass shooting tragedies in Buffalo and Uvalde last year, we finally passed the kind of significant federal gun safety legislation we started demanding after the Sandy Hook School shooting in 2012,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “It has been the honor of a lifetime to work side-by-side with our devoted volunteers and gun violence survivors, and I know this organization and its work to save lives will last into perpetuity. I look forward to spending this year celebrating our successes with volunteers across the country as we fight for continued action — before becoming a California Moms Demand Action volunteer in 2024.”
Throughout the year, Watts will travel the country alongside Everytown’s Senior Vice President of Movement Building, Angela Ferrell-Zabala, and other organizational leaders to celebrate the historic gun safety progress that has been made at all levels of government, continue pushing for life-saving action in state houses, and promote the leaders, survivors, and volunteers of the movement to end gun violence.
“When Mike Bloomberg and I first met with Shannon, we were focused on policy and politics, but we didn’t have the grassroots muscle — and we could see that Shannon was building a volunteer army to be reckoned with,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Nearly a decade later, Moms Demand Action’s signature red t-shirts are woven into the fabric of American politics, and our movement is only getting stronger as more Americans raise their voices — and cast their votes — to change the political calculus on gun safety.”
“When I first joined with Moms Demand Action volunteers, I found a community of moms on a mission to help end gun violence. These moms helped me honor my son Jordan and share my story as we worked together to make sure that no parent ever has to go through the pain of losing a loved one,” said Congresswoman Lucy McBath (GA-07). “Moms Demand Action volunteers — alongside survivors of gun violence and Students Demand Action volunteers — are a force of nature and have made it clear nothing will stand in their way. The movement Shannon Watts inspired is a vision for a world free from senseless gun violence, and I can’t wait to see what the next decade brings as we work together to save lives.”
“Our power is our people, and our vast network of Moms Demand Action volunteers is only growing stronger every day. As we look to the next decade, we look to a future free from gun violence, powered by the next generation of leaders ready to roll up their red sleeves and get to work,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Everytown’s Senior Vice President of Movement Building. “There is no better champion of grassroots advocacy than Shannon, and the movement she sparked 10 years ago is now a burning fire that will never be extinguished.”
Everytown and Moms Demand Action have marked historic progress at all levels of government, changing the political calculus on gun safety. The summer, we broke the nearly 30-year logjam in Congress and passed the most significant federal legislation to strengthen our federal gun laws in a generation, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This follows a decade of progress in statehouses across the country where Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have helped pass hundreds of good gun safety laws, blocked 90 percent of gun lobby-backed bills in the last eight years, and secured historic investments in gun violence prevention programs. In 2022 alone, state lawmakers and governors enacted more than 52 gun safety bills, invested $860 million in gun violence prevention and local violence intervention and prevention programs, and rejected dozens of extreme gun lobby-backed bills to weaken gun laws.
Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have also become political powerhouses in their own right. A year after Everytown Victory Fund launched Demand a Seat, a program to recruit and train the next generation of gun sense candidates and campaign workers, a record number of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers launched campaigns for elected office. More than 275 volunteers and gun violence survivors ran in the 2021-22 election cycle and 158 won their races.
Read more about the 2022 Year in Review here.