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If we’re going to win the fight to protect children, not guns, it is going to take mothers and fathers, grandparents, faith leaders and congregations, gun violence witnesses and survivors, military and law enforcement officers, elected officials and child advocates, and everyone who believes that our children’s right to live, learn and grow up safely must be protected before guns. We must not stop marching, calling, writing, and visiting and holding all of our political leaders accountable. We must hold them accountable for not ending the preventable and immoral loss of child and human lives and not honoring what most Americans want and our children need.
Contact your members of Congress, urge them to Protect Children, Not Guns, and vote to support safety for all our children. Insist that your elected officials take common sense approaches to gun violence prevention: banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines; closing loopholes in the current background check system; raising the age for the purchase of long guns; raising red flags when law enforcement and family members’ concerns warrant denial of gun purchases; banning devices like bump stocks that allow shooters to increase the rate of fire in their semi-automatic weapons; and protecting victims of domestic violence by extending gun restrictions on perpetrators.
Distribute fact sheets and information about the truth about guns and sensible gun safety legislation and policy opportunities in your state and in Congress to protect children, address their unmet mental health needs, and reduce gun violence. Partner with grassroots movements like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which has nearly 100 chapters in 40 states to engage lawmakers on the national, state, and local level online and in person.
Organize a Child Watch Site Visitation Program to raise awareness of the epidemic of gun violence in your community. To highlight the problems of violence, choose sites like morgues, emergency rooms, or juvenile detention centers. To highlight healthy development and violence prevention, choose sites like schools with conflict resolution and/or restorative justice programs, community mental health centers that provide prevention and 24-hour crisis response services for children and families, and early care and education programs that offer mental health consultation services.
Partner with as many local organizations as possible to organize a community march and vigil. Gather the names of children and teens lost to gun violence in your community. Choose a community location that highlights the toll of gun violence on children. Then remember each one lost to gun violence with poems, prayers and song.
Come to the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute on Child Advocacy Ministry at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee and learn with clergy, seminarians, and concerned people of faith how to work more effectively to end the violence of guns and child poverty in your community. Great preachers and great teachers will help you hone your skills at workshops. Learn more and register today.
Each year in October, thousands of Houses of Worship of all faiths lift up children’s needs by hosting a National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® celebration. This year’s theme is: Beating Swords into Plowshares: Ending the Violence of Guns and Child Poverty. Hold a “Turn Off Violence and Turn In Guns” Day as part of your Children’s Sabbath weekend activities. Check out the resources including a step-by-step guide on organizing a Children’s Sabbath weekend.