Education: Stopping Violence Before It Starts
GGS Monthly Meeting & Program
Monday, May 23
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Colonial Church in Prairie Village
7039 Mission Road
We’re pleased this month’s meeting and program will be in-person, with seating arranged for social distancing and masks optional. While we are eager to see one another in person, we’ll continue being vigilant about CDC COVID-related protocols. If any changes are recommended, we’ll respond quickly.
Studies have shown teaching children how to deal constructively with conflicts and anger can help lessen the risk they’ll use violence to solve problems. Our May program will feature two such local educational strategies for students of different ages.
Mary Esselman, President and CEO of Operation Breakthrough in KCMO, will share how her program teaches those coping skills to the youngest among us. And for older students, Erik Erazo, Executive Director of Diversity and Engagement for the Olathe School District, will discuss how he developed the District’s award-winning Lowrider Bike Club for at-risk boys and girls and how he continues providing mentorship.
Read more here about the role early childhood education plays in heading off violent crime: Mayor Lucas, we can fight Kansas City crime by boosting early childhood education or click here for a pdf of the article. More here about the Lowrider Bike Club: Here’s how Olathe School District’s club entices kids to cruise into class engagement.
April 25 Meeting Recap
Another risk factor that can contribute to gun violence is unemployment. Last week we heard from Brittany Peterson of Second Chance and Kyle Smith, founder of Determination, Incorporated, representing two local programs designed to help formerly incarcerated people prepare for and find meaningful employment. They were joined by three previous clients who shared their inspiring stories. Read two of those stories here: Ray Mays and Johnnie Peete. The program was also recorded; you can access it here.
GGS president Judy Sherry, Kyle Smith of Determination, Incorporated, Robert Miller, Ray Mays, Johnnie Peete and Brittany Peterson of Second Chance.
GGS-Supported Firearm Warning Resolution Adopted by KCMO City Council
After many months of collaboration with community groups and several city departments, GGS won the Council of Kansas City’s approval of a city resolution acknowledging the health risks of owning firearms.
GGS president and founder Judy Sherry and Board member Carla Oppenheimer accepted the resolution at the Council’s April 14 meeting. In part, the Council’s resolution reads “… We hereby declare the importance and potentially beneficial public health impact that increased communication on the health risks associated with firearm ownership could have in Kansas City, Missouri….” Read the complete resolution. KCMO Mayor pro tem Kevin McManus, who spoke at GGS’ 2020 Community Forum, and Councilwoman Ryana Parks-Shaw, who represents the Fifth District, co-sponsored the resolution.
Carla Oppenheimer and Judy Sherry proudly display the resolution, flanked by co-sponsors Mayor pro tem Kevin McManus and Councilwoman Ryana Parks-Shaw.
GGS’s initiative began as a project of its Advocacy Committee that was sparked by regulatory action taken in King County (Seattle), WA, requiring gun sellers and gun ranges to post signs warning about the dangers of firearms.
Because Missouri statute “prohibits any level of government other than the Missouri General Assembly from enacting any legislation related to firearms,” a similar regulation was not possible in Kansas City. However, contacts at the KC Health Department, the Violence Free KC Task Force and the KCMO Health Commission all supported a compromise which led to the Council resolution. Read more here about the action in King County.
Adoption of the resolution begins the next phase of GGS advocacy. Its volunteers will visit stores where firearms are sold and offer warning signs.
Earlier canvassing of area gun shops found proprietors had no resistance to posting the signs and many showed real interest, which underscores research across the country that found firearm dealers support safely securing firearms.
Lock It For Love Grabs Newspaper Headlines
Lock It For Love, GGS’ signature gun safety program, was the focus of a recent feature in The Kansas City Star as part of its ongoing coverage of gun violence in Missouri, its causes and possible solutions.
The April 6 article was written by Star reporter Kaitlin Washburn of the “Seeking Solutions to Gun Violence” news team. Kaitlin and her reporting colleague Humera Lodhi spoke at GGS’ March 2021 program discussing the different attitudes about firearms in urban settings and rural communities.
Barb McNeile, GGS Board member and LIFL chair, was interviewed along with volunteers Gail Roberson and Ann Hall, who were shown distributing the free, high-quality gun locks and educational materials at a recent event at Charlie’s House, a local nonprofit focused on preventing childhood injuries and deaths in the home. Charlie’s House is one of several supporting partners of GGS.
Also featured in the article were long-time GGS supporters Dr. Shayla Sullivant, child psychiatrist at Children’s Mercy Hospital, and Andy Hamil, KCPD Community Officer.
Since it began in 2017, LIFL has distributed some 5,000 free, high-quality gun locks at community events throughout the metro area. Read the Star article here.
Nine people were killed and 54 were injured in 11 mass shootings in eight states over the Easter weekend.
– Gun Violence Archive
GVA defines mass shooting as four or more people (excluding the shooter) who were shot or killed in a single event at the same general time and location.
Ethan’s Law Makes Progress
Passage of Ethan’s Law by the U.S. House of Representatives may come as early as this month, according to its grassroots supporters; we just need Speaker Pelosi to bring it to the floor. You can help by signing this petition to urge her to do so. The proposed federal legislation would require a gun (loaded or unloaded) to be safely secured so individuals 18 years old and younger cannot access it.
The bill is named for 15-year-old Ethan Song, who died in an accidental shooting while handling a gun at a friend’s home. We congratulate the Newtown (Connecticut) Action Alliance, Ethan’s parents Kristin and Michael Song and all the survivors and supporters who helped get the bill this far in the legislative process.
After Ethan’s Law advances to the U.S. Senate, your help continues to be needed by contacting your senators and asking friends and relatives around the country to contact theirs, too.
Ethan Song, 15-year-old victim of a preventable death by firearm.
Say Their Names
Following are another 17 lives lost to firearms in the metro area since our last newsletter. This brings the total to 69 homicides since January 1. We say their names while we keep true to our vision that one day everyone in our community will be safe from gun violence.
* GVA defines mass shooting as four or more people (excluding the shooter) who were shot or killed in a single event at the same general time and location.
Place Your Orders for New GGS Swag
You can now update your GGS wardrobe and show your support by wearing these new items. Get a close-up look at the real garments, then place your order at our May 23 meeting.
Here’s a gift idea for Mother’s Day: new GGS swag and/or a one-year GGS membership!
Thank You to Our New and Renewing Members
We are so thankful for our generous members from the beginning of this year!
Gerri McPherson and Janet Milkovich
Melissa Baker, John Burris, Gay Clemenson, Rita Clifford, Teri Cohn, Marilyn Curtis, Ardie Davis, Susan Davison, Enid & Jim Dickson, Jodi Dinkins, Ann Hall, Mary Ann Hile, Kathryn Hockley, Harriet Lawrence, Sandi Lerner, Patricia Lundgren, Ritchie Lynne, Rudena Mallory, Mary Marnett, Nancy Maxwell, Lorene Miller, Trudy Nepstad, Marsha Owen, Genie Park,
David M. Rodriguez, Martha Sharp, Loren Stanton, Roys Thedinger, Kathy Truders, Renee Van Erp and Nancy May Vohs.
Grand Members generously renewing at the $100 level:
Jan Brunks, Mary Connor, Shirley English, Donna Euston, Joan Jacobson, Jeannie Long, Rebecca Matthews, Barb McNeile, Patty Nicholson, Christine Rankin, Gail Roberson, Kathleen Strange, Janet Winkler and Julie Young.
Mark Your Calendar
Tuesday, May 3
Good Faith Network’s Nehemiah Assembly
Church of the Resurrection, 13720 Roe, Leawood
Sunday, May 9
Happy Mother’s Day!
Thursday, May 19
Documentary: The Gun Conundrum – Inside Kansas City’s Most Deadly Debate
Kansas City PBS
Monday, May 23
GGS Monthly Meeting and Program
Education: Stopping Gun Violence Before It Starts
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Colonial Church in Prairie Village, 7039 Mission Road
All members of our community have the right to feel safe from gun violence.
We focus on working for solutions, educating the community and seeking common ground reform that respects the rights of gun owners and non-owners alike.