Hope and Forgiveness

Twenty-five years ago in California, gun violence brought together Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix. Tony, Ples’ 14-year-old grandson, shot and killed Azim’s 20-year-old son Tariq, a college student delivering pizzas. It was a gang initiation gone horribly wrong.

What came next will inspire you. Join us to hear how these extraordinary victims of gun violence forged a unique partnership to help stop its deadly spread. Together they have inspired thousands of people with their message of hope.

6th Annual Community Forum
Gun Violence: Insights from Both Ends of the Gun

Monday, October 14
8:30 a.m. p 2:30 p.m.
BEST Conference Center
KU Edwards Campus, 12600 Quivira Road
Overland Park, Kansas

Following the Keynote presentation by Azim and Ples, a panel of first responders will be moderated by Nick Haines, of KCPT. Box lunch and Breakout Sessions will complete the day. 

See the full Agenda and purchase $35 tickets.


We were busy Advocates at our September 23 meeting! Our speaker was Megan Ahsens, Johnson County Assistant District Attorney, who works exclusively on domestic violence cases. Megan explained the 17-point Lethality Assessment that law enforcement agencies throughout the county use to evaluate the risk of a domestic violence disturbance escalating into a homicide. This assessment is used to diffuse domestic violence and steer its victims to healthier lives. Megan reminded us that a domestic violence victim is five times more likely to be killed if her partner owns a gun. Read the meeting minutes.

Advocacy Actions in support of domestic violence victims were writing postcards to the Johnson County Commissioners asking them to continue to support victims of domestic violence and writing personal notes of encouragement to women living at Safehome.

While supporting our speakers with focused Advocacy Actions, it’s important to remember to share our opinions with our elected officials. Two important issues are:

  • Funding support public health research on gun violence prevention
  • Passing sensible gun regulations

In a recent guest commentary in the Kansas City Star, Dena K. Hubbard, a pediatrician and neonatologist in Kansas City urged U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, who chairs the relevant appropriations subcommittee, to support the request of medical and public health experts to provide $50 million for public health research on gun violence prevention in the appropriations bill to fund the government. The House of Representatives has already voted for this funding. Read the article: We must find real solutions to gun violence. Roy Blunt can play a key role.

Since we know the tide of public opinion is shifting regarding gun violence, this is the optimum time to press for legislation supporting universal background checks, “Red Flag” laws, limiting high-capacity magazines and prohibiting the sale of AR-15s and AR-17s.

Our voices DO count, so let’s remember to be advocates whenever we can and wherever we are. Remember to thank or “spank” your elected officials for their stands on gun violence and let them know your thoughts regarding these two important issues. Find your US Senators and Representatives.

Mark Your Calendars

Saturday, October 5: Out of Darkness Walk at Swope Park 

10 am to noon

Sponsored by the Greater Kansas City chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Monday October 14: 6th Annual Community Forum on Gun Violence

8:30 am to 2:30 pm
BEST Conference Center KU Edwards Campus

Monday December 9: GAGV Combined November/December Meeting

Barbara Unell, local author, publisher, educator will explain and discuss the ramifications of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE).

All About Facebook

Our Facebook page is really getting noticed! This past month we had 144 new Page Likes (235% increase) and 2,290 Post Reaches (4446% increase)

We can increase those numbers by liking the posts on our page, making comments and sharing. Of course good content is crucial – so if you have a suggestion for something to post please send it our Facebook administrator, Nancy Oglesby.

And if you haven’t done it yet yourself, be sure to LIKE our Grandparents Against Gun Violence Facebook page!

    News You Can Use 

    Read about a CA Representative Mike Thompson’s work for Gun Violence Prevention

    Gun Violence Prevention

    And then there’s Missouri: 

    Amid bloodshed in St. Louis, Missouri lawmakers are in no rush to address gun violence

    Walking around Walmart with a rifle is legal and shows the insanity of Missouri gun laws

    No wonder the KC Star will be recognized as our 2019 Organization Advocate at the October 14 Community Forum!


    Our Lock It For Love (LIFL) program continues to grow in reach and impact, with requests for this education and gun lock distribution program coming at a rapid pace. As of October 1, we have completed 104 events and distributed 2,597 free gun locks. September was a record month as 21 volunteers and police officers from five metro police departments participated in 10 events, many centered around Suicide Awareness Month. Eleven additional events are scheduled for the remainder of the year.

    As we say so often now, we are quite sure we have saved the life of at least one curious toddler, one distraught teen. However, as we read of the preventable death of a 2-year-old just last week, we know our work must continue.

    We are thankful for the many partnerships we have formed as a result of this community-wide effort to keep our children and grandchildren safe. If interested in learning more about the LIFL program or to be a volunteer, please email us. Co-Chairs Chris Glenski and Barb McNeile will respond promptly to your request.


    More than a dozen GAGV members attended the community screening on September 26 of the documentary “Emanuel” which examines the aftermath of the June 2015 mass shooting of nine African-Americans at the AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

    The showing was sponsored by the Kansas City, Mo. Police Department and other community groups, including GAGV. A panel discussion on ways to curb gun violence followed the screening and included Rose Simmons, whose father was one of the nine victims, Barb McNeile, GAGV board member, and others.

    Panelists Barb McNeile, Anthony Butler, Rose Simmons, Mahnaz Shabir, Deputy  Chief Kuehl, Rabbi Doug Alpert

    Ms. Simmons met with a group of GAGV members the day before the screening to discuss the documentary and how families live with the aftermath of gun violence. Her message was forgiveness, which is also the message of the film. Within hours of the shooter’s capture, many of the victims’ families publicly forgave the 21-year-old white supremacist, who was later convicted on all 33 federal charges, including hate crimes. He is now on death row at the maximum-security federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

    GAGV members Joan Jacobson, Chris Glenski, Charlotte Davison, Judie Becker  Lona Harris and Barb McNeil join Rose Simmons, Jason Cooley, KCPD and Durwood Londy

    Do it! Stand up for what you believe in. The world needs your voice. Whoever you are, you have something to say. Say it!

                                                           Kerry Washington, actress