(On March 24, kids and families will attend March For Our Lives to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that gun violence and mass shootings in schools end.)
Three places to start
by Shirley Paulson
“In whose corner is God calling you to stand?” We heard this question at Women of the ELCA’s Tenth Triennial Gathering in Minneapolis last July.
Using Micah 6:8, the speaker challenged us to go beyond doing mercy (which we Lutherans are very good at) to doing justice: advocating for causes about which we care. In recent days and weeks, I have felt called to stand with the victims of yet another school shooting–this time in Parkland, Florida.
The brave Parkland teenagers who are demanding changes in our gun laws, declaring “Never Again” deserve our support.
Active shooter drills
This most recent shooting brings back memories of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
At the time, I was an elementary school principal in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where we had regular “active shooter” drills. It broke my heart that even our tiny four-year-olds had to learn how to hide and stay quiet in case someone was in our school trying to hurt them.
And then in December 2012, the nightmare scenario came true as 20 six- and seven-year-olds were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. At the time, I thought surely changes would happen. Twenty little kids had been shot and killed. Now, Congress would act to change laws so that our most precious children would be safe.
Nothing was done. Nothing changed. The killings continued.
I believe that we are finally at a tipping point thanks to the youth of Parkland and across the country, leading the fight for sensible gun reform. Gun violence is not inevitable. According to several recent polls, about 90 percent of Americans favor stronger universal background checks and more than 60 percent think assault weapons should be banned.
I believe that we are finally at a tipping point thanks to the youth of Parkland and across the country, leading the fight for sensible gun reform.
What can you do? How can you advocate for justice on this issue?
Three places to start
Here are three easy but powerful places to start:
- Sign up at ELCA Office of Public Policy’s e-Advocacy Network. Find a state public policy office, and receive action alerts on topics of your choice. The alerts will enable you to easily contact your legislators–by clicking a link where you can send a brief comment.
- If you would rather not be on a list, you can contact your legislators directly by phone, by email or letter. Sending a simple message telling them that you want sensible gun reform now is easy and effective. Find your legislator or call your public library to find out how to contact your elected representatives.
- Learn what the high school students in your area have planned in conjunction with the March for Our Lives on March 24. Find out when and where they will gather and then go and stand with them. You can make a sign if you want, but all you need do is be there to show your support. If you can’t stand with the youth, drive by, honk your horn, and give the kids a thumbs up, or sign the petition.
In whose corner is God calling you to stand? I’m standing with the innocent little children of Sandy Hook and the courageous teenagers of Parkland.
Shirley Paulson is a retired educator and member of Peace Lutheran just west of Green Bay. She serves as president of the East Central Synod Wisconsin Women of the ELCA.