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More Than 370 Survivors of Gun Violence Unveil Letter to 117th Congress as Third Annual National Gun Violence Survivors Week Kicks Off

February 1, 2021

Today at 4 PM, Representative Lucy McBath (GA-6) Joins Everytown President John Feinblatt and Students Demand Action Leader Marco Vargas for Virtual Kickoff Discussion; Watch at and on Twitter at @Everytown

Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Volunteers to Host Virtual Events Throughout the Week

NEW YORK — More than 370 survivors of gun violence, all members of the Everytown Survivor Network, today released an open letter to the 117th Congress highlighting the life-changing trauma of gun violence — a newly shared experience for some members of Congress following the violent attack on the United States Capitol on January 6. The full text of the letter can be found here.

The release of the open letter coincides with the beginning of the third annual National Gun Violence Survivors Week, February 1-7. The week focuses on sharing and amplifying the stories of gun violence survivors who live with the impact of gun violence every day of the year. By early February, more people are killed with guns in the United States than are killed with guns in other high-income countries in an entire year. Millions more are shot and wounded, threatened with a gun, or witness an act of gun violence in their lifetimes. In total, 58 percent of American adults or someone they care for have personally experienced gun violence in their lifetimes. 

“Today marks seven years since my son DeAndre survived a shooting while at a birthday party. This National Gun Violence Survivors Week, I am once again sharing his story because Dre is a fighter and that inspires me everyday to get up and to keep going, said DeAndra Dycus, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network whose son was shot and wounded at the age of 13 on Feb. 1, 2014. “This year, the dual crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and gun violence hit harder in a time when visits are without hugs, but Dre’s perseverance doesn’t stop and as his mother, neither will I.”

“There are so many forms of gun violence in our communities, each one leaving a trail of trauma in its wake,” said Miami Knight, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network, who lost her son Ty-Key to firearm suicide. “Having the opportunity to share our stories as part of National Gun Violence Survivors week is so critical because I’ve found that there is a true disconnect and lack of sharing around suicide in my community. This week gives survivors a chance to stand together and showcase the many faces of this issue that must be addressed through stronger gun laws and city gun violence and suicide intervention work.”

“Survivors of gun violence intimately know that sharing one’s personal experience is a hard, but necessary part of healing from trauma. I know this personally after losing my own father to gun suicide,” said Debbie Weir, Senior Managing Director, Organizing and Engagement for Moms Demand Action. “I’m honored to join more than 370 other survivors on this letter to Congress and hope they not only feel the support of gun violence survivors around the country, but feel compelled to take action to help prevent it in the first place.”

Today at 4PM EST, Representative Lucy McBath (D-GA) will join Everytown president John Feinblatt and Students Demand Action leader Marco Vargas for a National Gun Violence Survivors Week kickoff conversation. The conversation will be livestreamed on Everytown’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Follow along at and on Twitter at @Everytown.  

The week’s events continue on Tuesday, February 2 with a virtual roundtable hosted by the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. centering on the forthcoming Gun Violence Memorial Project – a project designed by MASS Design Group that features four houses built of 700 glass bricks, each representing a victim of gun violence, and each house representing the average number of American lives taken by gun violence each week. The discussion will center on the lives taken by gun violence and the forthcoming opening of the project and will feature Debbie Weir; Jha D Williams, Senior Associate from MASS Design Group; and Pam Bosley and Annette Nance-Holt, co-founders of Purpose Over Pain.  

In addition, PEOPLE Magazine released People Features: Gun Violence Survivor Athletes, a virtual roundtable discussion in partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, during which members of the Everytown Athletic Council shared their personal experiences with gun violence. Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers will host virtual events around the country throughout the week in recognition of National Gun Violence Survivors Week. 

Hundreds of stories representing just a fraction of gun violence in America can be found on Moments That Survive – a year-round digital storytelling platform on which people across the country share defining details of their gun violence experiences, in their own words. Moments That Survive builds community among gun violence survivors and helps the public understand how everyday life changes as a result of gun violence. Survivors and partner organizations across the country will also share their stories via social media throughout the week using #GVSurvivorsWeek.

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