Spotlight: Gun Violence Nonprofits
The quest to end gun violence in our schools or anywhere else for that matter does not happen overnight, nor can it be done alone. Protecting our Students (POS) relies on support from the community, parents, schools, government as well as other nonprofits. Today we wanted to spotlight the other nonprofits that are seeking to end gun violence and the wonderful work they have done and continue to do.
Sandy Hook Promise
The Sandy Hook Promise was created shortly after the tragedy that struck Newtown, Connecticut. The nonprofit was founded by several family members of the victims of the horrific incident. Their main purpose is to prevent gun violence as well as stop the loss of life. For the Sandy Hook Promise, early intervention is key. They created a program called Know The Signs. This innovative program allows for students and educators to be trained on identifying at-risk behaviors that others might be exhibiting as well as how to intervene to get help. In addition, Sandy Hook Promise offers a downloadable app, telephone hotline, and website for students to be able to anonymously report an issue if they feel that a classmate might be at risk of harming others or themselves.
Everytown For Gun Safety
Everytown is not just a nonprofit aiming to stop gun violence, but rather a movement. Everytown has over six million members and is also the largest nonprofit advocating for gun safety. In 2013, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense and Mayors Against Illegal Guns joined forces and became Everytown For Gun Safety. Since then, they have proudly added Students Demand Action and The Everytown Survivor Network to their family. Everytown aims to support and educate the research, causes, solutions, and survivors of gun violence. In addition, they are all about enacting and implementing smart gun policies, all while electing gun sense candidates and demanding accountability.
Moms Demand was founded by Shannon Watts shortly after the Sandy Hook Massacre. While Shannon did not have any family members that were involved with the massacre, Shannon (a mother of five) felt a need to start something to prevent more tragedies like Sandy Hook from happening again. Shannon started a Facebook Group which quickly and successfully turned into a movement with the intent of protecting people from gun violence all over our nation. Fast forward to today and Moms Demand Action has a chapter in all 50 states as well as an affiliation with Everytown For Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country.
Brady United is one of the oldest gun violence prevention nonprofits. The organization originally started as the National Council to Control Handguns in 1974, then becoming Handgun Control, Inc. in 1980. From then to today, the organization has gone through many changes and has done many things for gun control. White House Press Secretary Jim Brady (Reagan administration) was shot during an assassination attempt on then-president Ronald Reagan. Jim survived but went on to be partially paralyzed for the rest of his life. Jim’s wife Sarah became the chair of the HCI as well as the chair of the HCI’s sister organization, the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence. Sarah and Jim fought extremely hard to pass a law called the “Brady Bill”. The Brady Bill required background checks for all gun sales. In 2000, both the HCI and CPHV were renamed The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence to honor Jim and Sarah’s hard work and dedication.
School Safety Grant
Many schools today lack the technological advancements needed to keep campus safe and secure from violent incidents. That is where School Safety Grant comes in. SSG can offer schools custom grants that offer software and products to allow a school to upgrade whatever current school safety models they may have in place with more advanced and current ones. These upgraded systems allow for more efficient monitoring and faster connections to alert first responders that their help is needed. SSG was founded by Andrew Pollack, a parent who lost his daughter in the Parkland High School shooting in 2014.
Safe Schools for Alex
Like some other nonprofits, Safe Schools for Alex (SSFA) was founded shortly after the Parkland, FL shooting. Alex Schachter was just fourteen years old as well as one of the first victims of his life tragically taken prematurely. The organization was founded by Alex’s Father, Max, who is the Founder and Executive Director of the organization. SSFA seeks to supply the best school safety practices as well as providing valuable resources to students, parents, school districts, and law enforcement to ensure children can continue to learn while in a safe environment. Alex was a musician who was a trombone playing band member. SSFA developed the program Let the Music Play On which provides free one-on-one private musical online lessons to children in low-income communities. Over $10,000 has been donated for children to be able to receive the lessons.
Make Our Schools Safe
Just like Safe Schools For Alex, Make Our Schools Safe (MOSS) was founded by grieving parents who lost a child in the Parkland, FL shooting. Alyssa Alhadeff was just 14 years old when she was killed in the massacre. The mission of MOSS is to empower not just students but school staff as well to create and maintain a culture of safety and vigilance all while in a secure school environment. MOSS has created Alyssa’s Law, which calls for schools to be installed with silent panic alarms linked directly to law enforcement to reduce response times and allow law enforcement to get on the scene as soon as possible.
While our mission statements may vary slightly and the way we go about operating may be different, we all have the same common goal: to end gun violence. Even though Protecting Our Students’ mission is to end all K-12 school shootings, we still stand in solidarity with our fellow gun violence organizations. At the end of the day, and unnecessary loss of life from gun violence is a loss that should not have occurred in the first place. We are all doing our parts to ensure safety for all Americans. Change does not occur overnight, nor does it come without many obstacles and hurdles. The point stands, we are all doing what we can to end gun violence not just in our schools but everywhere else. We are a dedicated group and we will keep fighting the good fight to reduce the number of innocent lives taken too soon from gun violence.