Gun Violence

Our Lessons Only Hold Weight If We Live By Them

February 12, 2021 | National

In a guest blog post, activist Jessica Kurzban shares a Valentine’s Day call to action for the Children’s Defense Fund community.

We tell our children to do their best. We tell them that every mistake is an opportunity to grow, that if today was bad, tomorrow will be better. But Valentine’s Day is a reminder of how we as adults fail to honor these principles. 

This Valentine’s Day marks three years since the Parkland shooting stole 17 beautiful lives, and over eight years since 20 precious first-graders were horrifically murdered at Sandy Hook. What have we learned? What have we done? What is the promise for tomorrow?

We have not done our best to protect our children against gun violence. Year after year goes by with no meaningful legislation passed. In 2019, 3,371 children and teens were killed by gun violence–one every 2 hours and 36 minutes. And mass shootings have continued to rise, even during the COVID pandemic. 

We have not learned from our mistakes. We have not done enough. We haven’t protected our children and the promise of tomorrow. Gun laws have gone unchanged, loopholes unaddressed, and shootings unabated. 

We cannot assure our children that tomorrow will be better than today when individuals can still purchase high power assault weapons, when lethal loopholes allow 1 in 5 guns to be sold without background checks, and when gun manufacturers do not commit to building basic safety features into guns.  

The lessons we teach our children on resilience and hope ring hollow when we as adults fail to live by them. And each of us is failing our children—not only in our chosen roles as parents, teachers, legislators, retailers, and manufacturers, but as adults with the inherent duty to protect them; adults with nieces and nephews, children and grandchildren who look to us for the assurance that we will do our best, learn from our mistakes, keep them safe, and fulfill our promise that tomorrow will be better than today.

Help ensure that tomorrow is better than today for our children: tell Congress that this Valentine’s Day, they owe our country’s children more than candygrams and valentines. They owe our children action