A Personal Message from Judy Sherry, GAGV President

This past week we’ve seen disturbing news here and across the country about the increases in two public health epidemics: COVID 19 and gun violence. The ongoing bad news about gun violence has sharpened the focus on its toll of lives lost, survivors forever changed and families in mourning.

As you read this newsletter, you’ll see we how Grandparents Against Gun Violence is responding. We’re refreshing our messaging plus speaking out and standing with our grandparent colleagues in Seattle and Cape Cod by publicly demonstrating against gun violence. And clearly, our upcoming 8th Annual Community Forum spotlighting strategies to curb gun violence is another example of our commitment to keep our community safe from firearms.

The articles we’ve curated in the News You Can (Must!) Use section further illustrate both the need and the opportunity for all of us to stand up and speak out now!

“Messaging Matters” PLUS an Exciting Message from Us!

GAGV Monthly Meeting
Monday, August 23
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Colonial Church, 7039 Mission Road, Prairie Village

We’ve often emphasized the importance of the words we use when talking about gun violence and common ground reform. In fact, that emphasis underscores Words Matter, our Gun Thesaurus that’s been well-received by other advocacy groups around the country. At the August meeting we’ll share new messaging concepts that go beyond a word or phrase and show how framing our message can avoid confrontation or immediate rejection. Knowing that gun owners and non-gun owners share a common concern for gun safety, we can use terms and phrases that can gain more support for shared solutions.

Then get ready for new approaches for our own messaging and some surprises for GAGV members. Join us to hear the words that matter to all of us!

Update on the 8th Annual Community Forum

Gun Violence: Strategies to Curb This Public Health Epidemic
Webinar on 
Monday, October 11, 2021

Response from sponsors of the Forum has been very rewarding, both from individuals and organizations. It’s gratifying to see so many in the community support our work to prevent gun violence. Stand with them and us! Become a sponsor by visiting our website, or bringing a check or credit card to the August 23 meeting. Meet more of our Forum speakers including educator Deidre Anderson, faith leader Father Justin Mathews and community developer Chris Harris, pictured below.

Rally with Our Coast-to-Coast “Grands” on August 14

Plan to join with our colleagues in Seattle and Cape Cod as the three grandparent groups show united concern about gun violence. Gather from 10 am to noon at Theis Park, just east of the Plaza and south of the shuttlecocks on the lawn of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on 47th Street, between Oak and Cherry.

Create your own sign, display a Grandparents Against Gun Violence sign (we’ll have some at the rally) or show your Vison Quilt panel if you’ve made one. We hope to see many of you standing with us. Watch for a Sign-Up Genius email from Jan Brunks this week or email us.

Why August 14? For many years the Cape Cod Grandmothers Against Gun Violence has demonstrated with signage at different locations on the 14th of every month. It’s another way of remembering the Sandy Hook tragedy that took place on December 14, 2012. This combined August rally is a great opportunity to support our fellow advocates from Washington and Massachusetts. Watch for a video of each group’s demonstration on our Facebook page.

Member Spotlights: Donna Euston and Dr. Tom Russell

In the years after the shooting at Sandy Hook, Donna Euston of Leawood realized “nothing was going to be done legislatively, so I’ve got to do what I can to protect kids.”

That realization brought her to GAGV. Donna and her husband Larry are regular volunteers with Lock It For Love, distributing free gun locks and gun safety information at community events. The couple met when she was a flight attendant and he was a pilot for TWA. Donna has three stepchildren and four grandchildren, but Donna’s no ordinary grandmother.

During the months the couple spends in Florida, she’s won several medals ice skating with Tropical Spice on Ice, a competitive women’s skating team. When here, Donna also volunteers with Heart to Heart International in Lenexa. She helps assemble health and hygiene kits for the homeless and for victims of natural and man-made disasters in the U.S. and around the world.

In June, Donna received GAGV’s Pat Russell Volunteer of the Quarter award. It’s an ongoing memorial the GAGV Board started three years ago after the passing of Board member Pat Russell. Pat was a retired nurse who served on GAGV’s Board of Directors and coordinated volunteers in its early years.

“Preventing gun violence was a very important issue for her,” according to Pat’s husband, Dr. Tom Russell, a retired Kansas City dentist who now teaches full time at UMKC’s dental school. “In GAGV, she found a group of people she enjoyed working with for a common purpose.”

As a boy growing up in Kansas City, KS, Tom did target practice for fun and in the Navy “developed a respect for guns.” He continues supporting GAGV, as a Grand Member and as a generous sponsor of the annual Community Forum, to be held this year on Monday Oct 11.

In addition to GAGV, Tom supports his church, Saint Andrew Christian Church in Olathe, and as a lover of classical music, the Kansas City Symphony. His two daughters and their families live in the metro area. He has three young grandsons including twins born last July.

If you’d like to become more involved with GAGV and support its work, contact us! 

Donna Euston, left, ready to skate with Tropical Spice on Ice; and Dr. Tom Russell with grandsons Sullivan and twins Patrick and Teddy.

News You Can (MUST!) Use

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts, who was the keynote speaker at the 2016 Community Forum, sums up the outrage and emotions we feel about gun violence in this July 26 column: Humans can adapt to anything. An 8-year-old shouldn’t have to get used to shootings.

And from William Falk, Editor of The Week magazine: Weapons of mass destruction: when everyone has a gun, the body count soars.

“As we celebrated our nation’s birth on the Fourth of July weekend, more than 230 Americans died by gun violence and 618 were wounded. And so it goes.” 

Mark Your Calendar

Monthly meetings are held on the fourth Monday from 4:00 to 5:30 pm at Colonial Church in Prairie Village.

August 14: Rally at Theis Park, Kansas City, MO, 10:00 am to noon.

August 23: Messaging Matters, PLUS an exciting announcement!

September 27: Gun Violence is Like a Deadly Virus, with Denise Dowd, M.D., from Children’s Mercy Hospital, and Loren Leib, M.P.H., epidemiologist with the Los Angeles County Health Department and Brady United Against Gun Violence, California

October 11: 8th Annual Community Forum webinar, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
Gun Violence: Strategies to Curb This Public Health Epidemic
Register here

Say Their Names

We’ve lost 15 people to homicide in the metro area since our last newsletter. We say their names here:

      Treating gun-related injuries in American hospitals costs
      at least $1 BILLION a year. That estimate comes from the United States Government Accountability Office in its
      Firearm Injuries report.

      Grandparents Against Gun Violence is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Kansas City, Missouri, that focuses on issues related to gun violence in Kansas and Missouri. We are working with community partners on strategies such as distributing gun locks to help gun owners protect the children in their homes from tragedy.

      P.O. Box 11193, Overland Park, KS 66207  |  [email protected]

      Donate to Grandparents Against Gun Violence

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