A powerful new video, released Thursday night, encourages people to vote in Tuesday’s midterm elections for candidates who are committed to ending America’s epidemic of gun violence.
The video — released by Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit group dedicated to gun violence prevention, in partnership with the media company ATTN: — features three people from different walks of life who have been impacted by gun violence.
Sari Kaufman is a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who survived the Feb. 14 mass shooting at the school that killed 17 people.
“What I remember about the shooting: I hope my friend didn’t die, I hope my teacher didn’t die,” she says.
Julvonnia McDowell is a mother whose 14-year-old son, JaJuan McDowell, was unintentionally fatally shot by another teen playing with a gun in 2016. “I don’t want another parent, another mother, to have to shed these tears,” she says.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Scott Cooper is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps and a member of the Everytown Veteran Advisory Council.
Cooper begins the video by citing a staggering statistic from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence: Every day, 96 Americans are killed by guns — three times as many as those who are killed by drunk drivers.
According to mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 26,000 children and teens under 18 were killed by gunfire in the United States between 1999 and 2016. A 2017 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that firearm injuries are the third-leading cause of death among U.S. children age 1 through 17.
The latest high-profile reminder of America’s pervasive gun violence occurred on Saturday in Pittsburgh, when, authorities say, an alleged anti-Semite fatally shot 11 people inside a synagogue during morning services.
But the message of the video is hopeful: Tuesday’s elections mark a time where Americans who support laws to prevent gun violence in widespread numbers can make a difference.
“This has gone on way too long. We are tired, we are fed up,” Kaufman says before McDowell adds: “Please vote to honor my son and keep shootings like his from happening again.”