If you were among the 250 Forum attendees on October 9, you experienced first-hand the enthusiasm of the crowd, especially the young people who attended, as guests and as speakers. The standing ovation given to 34-year-old keynoter Brandon Wolf, who survived the 2016 Pulse Nightclub mass shooting, made clear we’re all in this together.

Brandon’s address  underscored this year’s Forum theme of Gun Safety: Generations Standing Together. Clearly, even 10 years since its founding, GGS knows much work still needs to be done to prevent gun violence, promote responsible gun ownership and advocate for gun safety.

Following are among the comments made during the conversation with participants of varying generations:

Of the 48,000 lives lost to gun violence last year, Brandon said that night, “We can do better than this.”

“There’s no reason on earth we should live in fear of guns,” Judy Sherry, GGS president, told attendees.  She founded GGS after the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Of minority groups suffering disproportionate levels of gun deaths, KU professor Jomella Watson-Thompson, PhD, said, “We have a right to live.”

Regarding the  years he and his classmates have experienced active shooter drills, college student Sam Kim said, “My generation thinks that’s normal. It’s  not.” Sam founded UMKC’s chapter of Students Demand Action.

And of mental health struggles that can contribute to gun violence, Shawnee Mission East High School student Emma Kuhlman, said, “We need more mental health services and facilities.” She’s co-president of East Against Gun Violence.

Listen to the forum below. Brandon’s Speech Starts at 31 minutes. Conversationalists begin at 76 minutes.



1. GGS Board and Keynote Speaker Brandon Wolf   2. Conversationalist Emma Kuhlman  3. Gail Roberson and Brandon Wolf   4. Conversationalist Sam Kim 5. Patron Reception   6. Brandon, Sam and Emma  7. Brandon Wolf   8. Brandon and Emma with students from Shawnee Mission East   9. Conversationalist Jomella Watson-Thompson

Photos provided by Abi Limbird, Shawnee Mission East yearbook photographer