From Members of Congress and Mayors to Professional Athletes, Thousands Came Together to Share the Stories of Gun Violence Survivors
Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Hosted Over 90 Virtual Events Across the Country; Survivors Shared Stories on MomentsThatSurvive.org, #GVSurvivorsWeek and More
NEW YORK – Throughout National Gun Violence Survivors Week last week, members of Congress, mayors, partners, influencers, and others came together to amplify stories of survivors who live with the impact of gun violence every day of the year. With a gun death rate 11 times greater than other high-income nations, 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.
National Gun Violence Survivors Week kicked off last Monday when more than 370 survivors of gun violence, all members of the Everytown Survivor Network, 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 week continued with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action events throughout the country, and thousands of survivors coming together to share their stories on the Moments That Survive story wall and on social media using the hashtag #GVSurvivorsWeek.
Now in its third year, the campaign has grown to include thousands of supporters and people directly impacted by gun violence participating in virtual events and sharing their stories to highlight the urgent need to address gun violence.
Notable highlights from the week include:
- More than 370 survivors of gun violence released an open letter to the 117th Congress highlighting the life-changing trauma of gun violence.
- Over 90 virtual events and activities were organized by Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, in partnership with the Everytown Survivor Network and dozens of local community organizations, to elevate the stories of survivors of gun violence.
- More than 51,000 Twitter mentions throughout National Gun Violence Survivors Week, using #GVSurvivorsWeek and related terms.
- Over 100 members of Congress highlighted National Gun Violence Survivors Week to lift up survivor voices through social media, virtual conversations, and press releases, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The week was even featured during floor speeches in both chambers of Congress by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA).
- Dozens of mayors, state and federal officials from across the country shared lifted up the importance of the week, including stories from survivors on social media and issued mayoral proclamations, including: Biden-Harris Administration Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, NJ Governor Phil Murphy, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and more.
- Over 65 partners, including national membership groups, non-profit organizations, companies and faith partners across various issue areas, joined the effort in recognition of National Gun Violence Survivors Week. The groups included: A New Day Foundation, American Association of Suicidology, American Medical Student Association, Amnesty International USA, Bayard Rustin Liberation Initiative, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, Center for American Progress, Change the Ref, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Cities United, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Equality Federation, Faces Not Forgotten, Generation Progress, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, Greater New York Hospital Association, Guns Down America, Human Rights Campaign, Injury Free Coalition for Kids, Latino Victory Fund, Lil ART BODEGA, Lisa Foreman Foundation, Live for Liv Foundation, League of United Latin American Citizens, Jared’s Heart of Success Inc., Jewish Women International, March For Our Lives, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Education Association, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Urban League, Newtown Action Alliance, Pax Christi USA, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Purpose Over Pain, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, Run for Something, Sandy Hook Promise, Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic, Soul Box Project, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, Red Letter Christians, The Trevor Project, TOMS, ThisIsOurLane, To Write Love on Her Arms, TRIGGER Project, Everytown Interfaith Advisory Council, Everytown Veterans Advisory Council, Voto Latino, We Are Their Voices, Women Of Endurance, and Urban Peace Institute.
“Once again, a growing number of survivors of gun violence bravely shared their stories, something we paused to recognize during the third annual National Gun Violence Survivors Week. Sharing your story isn’t easy — I know that all too well myself in the wake of my father dying by gun suicide, ” said Debbie Weir, Senior Managing Director, Organizing and Engagement for Moms Demand Action. “While this week may have come to an end, it’s critical that we continue to honor the lives forever changed and taken with action so that we can put an end to our nation’s gun violence crisis.”
“As a mother whose only child was killed by gun violence, I know that National Gun Violence Survivors Week and the effort it makes to honor and remember all of the lives taken and forever changed by gun violence brings a needed level of comfort to families and loved ones across this country,” said Valerie Burgest, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network, whose son Craig Williams was killed by gun violence in 2013. “The act of sharing stories about the loved ones taken allows their memories to live on, not just during this week, but every day of the year.”
Following the release of the open letter to Congress, Monday’s kickoff continued with Representative Lucy McBath (D-GA) in conversation with Everytown president John Feinblatt and Students Demand Action leader Marco Vargas discussing the crisis of gun violence and the experience of survivors. Watch the conversation here. On Wednesday, Students Demand Action volunteer leader and survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Sari Kaufman, joined other student gun safety advocates and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) to discuss the future of the gun safety movement. Watch the conversation here. On Thursday, Students Demand Action volunteers hosted a youth summit to highlight young gun violence survivors and featured a panel with Mayor Van Johnson of Savannah, GA.
Also during the week, the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. hosted a virtual panel discussion 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 between Debbie Weir and Pam Bosley and Annette Nance-Holt from Purpose Over Pain, centered on the lives taken by gun violence and the upcoming opening of the project. The week concluded with Big Freedia, New Orleans’ Queen of Bounce, sharing a video detailing her gun violence survivor story and the disproportionate impact of gun violence on marginalized communities, includingBlack trans women.
In the week leading up to National Gun Violence Survivors Week, 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. The roundtable was part of PEOPLE’s multi-platform coverage of National Gun Violence Survivors Week which included print, digital, PEOPLE TV, and the PEOPLE Everyday podcast featuring an interview with Moms Demand Action volunteer and gun violence survivor, Crystal Turner.
The centerpiece of National Gun Violence Survivors Week, Moments That Survive, is a year-round digital storytelling site and campaign in which Americans across the country share defining details of their experiences with gun violence, 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. All told, 58 percent of American adults or someone they care for have experienced gun violence in their lifetimes.