Academy Award-winning actress and mother of two is the founding chair of the Creative Council at Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit organization that advocates for gun safety and legislative reform.
I am an American mom to a 15-year-old girl who attends high school, and a 20-year-old young man in college. Every day I wake up to make breakfast for my teenager before she leaves for school at 7:20. I have every expectation that I will see her at dinner time. I text my son with the understanding that if he does not get back to me, he is busy with class or basketball. And I am not unlike thousands of other parents in the United States in that my expectations for my children’s safety while they are away from me are false — the United States has become the most dangerous of wealthy nations to be born into.
Yesterday’s school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School resulted in at least 17 people killed and more than a dozen shot and wounded. This was the 18th shooting on school grounds since January 1st, and is the deadliest since Sandy Hook on December 14, 2012, and the 291st school shooting since 2013. In 2016, more than 1,600 American children were killed with guns, and at least 6,000 were shot and injured — this equates to an average of 23 children shot every day. And our lawmakers continue to show a lack of regard for our children’s safety by refusing to pass any significant legislation to end this gun violence crisis.
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After the tragedy at Sandy Hook School I realized that shielding my then young daughter from the news on the television was not responsible parenting. If I really wanted to keep my children safe I needed to do something, anything, to try to prevent this from happening again. I joined Everytown for Gun Safety and formed a group of actors and artists who would be willing to speak publicly about gun violence and take action with their legislatures. More than five years later, my now teenage daughter has taken action herself and formed a gun violence prevention club at her school, modeled on Everytown and Moms Demand Action.
So whose fault is this? Who do we hold responsible? Who do we persuade to stop this? I am done cajoling, persuading and attempting to convince our lawmakers to change policy.
Find out where your representation stands on these issues, ask them how they voted. In February 2017, President Trump signed a bill making it easier for people with severe mental illnesses to obtain guns. Yesterday, a young man with a history of disturbing behavior killed 17 people at a high school in Florida.
Hold our lawmakers responsible. And if they don’t do something, VOTE THEM OUT.