NC advocates in orange at the General Assembly last year. Photo provided by Beth Messersmith, NC Campaign Director, MomsRising.
Less than a month ago, our middle son sat with his classmates under a brilliant Carolina sun, their commencement robes the color of the sky.
Six days ago, he set out driving cross country with three friends on a grand adventure, to spend their dream summer interning in Los Angeles.
This afternoon he texted me not to worry, he and his roommates were safe. I clicked on a news site and discovered there had been a shooting at UCLA. I am lucky that I got a text. Two other moms did not.
I remember thinking when those 20 babies were shot in their first-grade classrooms that surely this nation would say, “Enough!” That the weapons used against them had been legally obtained and were used first against their owner only magnified the lie that guns inherently make us safer.
When a midnight showing of a summer blockbuster turned into a night of terror, I thought maybe this time. But now they just search my purse at the multiplex.
When nine people engaged in the study of Christianity’s holy text were gunned down in the space where they worshiped, some folks suddenly realized that the Confederate flag actually was a racist symbol. But we didn’t talk much about the guns.
So let’s talk about them now.
The NC Council of Churches has been working with like-minded organizations since last fall to come up with ways we might promote reasonable, common sense gun laws that don’t infringe on the Second Amendment. We have been looking for ways to make progress, in agreement with the majority of gun owners, on basic requirements around responsible gun ownership.
Some of what we’ve come up with includes:
This webpage that includes information for faith communities interested in raising these issues in their houses of worship. There are links to litanies, gun-safety organizations, and action steps for groups and for individuals. We hope you will use this page to start discussions in your faith community and to empower yourself as a grassroots advocate.
We also hope your house of worship will use some of those resources to participate in the Stand Up Sabbath, June 17-19. By pausing for a moment, offering a special prayer or hymn, let us honor the nine who died at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church one year ago.
In the days prior to the Stand Up Sabbath, the NC Justice Center and North Carolinians Against Gun Violence will hold a Crucial Conversation about gun violence prevention on Monday, June 6 at noon. Speakers are:
- State Senator Floyd B. McKissick, Jr, who is an outspoken proponent for smarter gun laws and who was himself a gun violence victim at an earlier time in his life
- The Rev. Kylon Middleton who pastors the Mount Zion AME Church in Charleston (a sister church to Emanuel that stands just a few blocks away) and was a close personal friend of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was murdered at Emanuel last June
- The Rev. Jennifer Copeland, the Council’s Executive Director and one of the driving forces behind Stand Up Sabbath.
It takes place in Raleigh and costs $10 to cover lunch. RSVP here.
Finally, tomorrow is National Gun Violence Awareness Day or Wear Orange Day. Much as hunters wear orange to keep themselves safe in the woods, on June 2 the color symbolizes the need for gun safety as well as the value of human life. It is a call to action for all who believe we can be a safer, smarter nation when it comes to gun ownership.
So if you make it out of the door in the morning without that particular color on, I hope you’ll dig an orange scrunchie out of your desk drawer, pin a piece of orange construction paper on your shirt, or use a marker to draw a big orange circle on the back of your hand.
Do it for those parents who didn’t get a text on Wednesday. Then please remain an advocate for all of us.