2020 in Review & 2021 Ahead
It was a year of twin crises: the COVID-19 pandemic and the alarming increase in firearm sales that followed. Both were responsible for a tragic loss of lives. Like most, GAGV members were affected by the interruption of our daily lives and activities. As we recognized the potential duration of these two crises, we adapted our activities to keep our volunteers and those we serve safe while continuing our mission to Educate / Advocate / Participate.
We’re proud of what we accomplished:
- Adapted our Lock It For Love (LIFL) program to a new pandemic model: providing free gun locks at drive-through food distribution events when partnering with Harvesters, the KCMO Health Department and others. In 2020, we distributed 1,040 locks at 20 events, bringing the program’s three-year distribution totals to 3,849 free gun locks distributed at 139 events with help from 13 metro police department partners.
- Produced and distributed yard signs focusing on the dangers of suicide and urging safe storage of firearms.
- Presented the 7th annual (and first virtual) Community Forum: Gun Violence – Going Beyond Thoughts and Prayers. The Forum webinar, co-sponsored by the 29 community organizations of the Heartland Coalition Against Gun Violence, featured local faith, business and government leaders and was viewed by 200+ people.
- Continued thought-provoking monthly educational programs through Zoom, drawing an average of more than 70 people. Because this was the Year of Collaboration, speakers discussed how their work aligned with GAGV’s.
- Expanded our presence on Facebook and Instagram and continued distribution of our monthly e-newsletter.
- Introduced Vision Quilt, a national virtual quilt comprised of individual panels expressing thoughts about gun violence and a vision for the future. GAGV members, individuals from the area and local churches have created 22 panels currently posted on the Vision Quilt website at https://www.visionquilt.org
- Initiated efforts encouraging the KCMO City Council to pass an ordinance requiring signage wherever firearms are sold warning potential buyers of firearms’ danger.
- Leased office space at Colonial Church in Prairie Village, 71st & Mission Road, GAGV’s pre-COVID meeting site.
Our 2021 goals are ambitious. With your help, we’ll achieve them!
- Build on Going Beyond Thoughts and Prayers by planning 2021 programs around Listening to Different Voices, to better understand other peoples’ perspectives of gun violence and hopefully find common ground.
- Enlarge GAGV’s Board of Directors and create a new Advisory Board of community leaders.
- Increase our database of 2,000 individuals and organizations to amplify our voice and impact.
- Support Going Beyond Thoughts and Prayers through specific Advocacy Action projects.
- Encourage local creation and display of 80 additional Vision Quilt panels to raise awareness of gun violence.
- Provide ongoing, meaningful volunteer opportunities and stimulating monthly speakers.
- Produce another informative Community Forum for the eighth consecutive year in collaboration with community supporters and organizations in the Heartland Coalition Against Gun Violence.
- Expand Lock It For Love by developing new methods to increase distribution of free gun locks and educational materials throughout the metro area and beyond.