Statement on Gun Violence Post Uvalde, TX
I am devastated that, once again, our country is reeling from another school shooting. As a fellow parent, we continue to be re-traumatized after every one of these events. Are our children safe? As parents we are left with fear and helplessness that we live in a country that does not prioritize the health and safety of children.
My heart is also with all educators, police officers, and other first responders from around the country. We are asking them to do an impossible job – to put themselves in harm’s way when those that want to kill have easy access to weapons of war, unlimited ammunition, body armor, and tactical gear that civilians should never have. The leaders in this country have not prioritized their lives and, frankly, I am sickened.
Before I was elected to office, I stood with local elected leaders often to recognize the victims of gun violence for Gun Violence Awareness Day. Here is a small subset of the proclamation ceremonies I attended for communities in Essex County. You will see Councilwoman Holland, before she was elected, in these photos as well.
As local leaders, we don’t have direct control over most of the policies and laws in place that impact gun violence. We feel as powerless as you do. But we do have the ability to make statements that acknowledge threats to resident health and safety so that you know that we care. Gun violence, antisemitism, white supremacy, and discrimination are issues where leaders need to have the courage to take a stand without taking an opinion poll on whether or not everyone agrees. Morally it is the right thing to do.
Many of you have asked what you can do to reduce gun violence. There are bills to support in NJ, marches that will be organized, money that can be donated, voters that should be energized and more. Send me an email and I am happy to direct you, and I will post more targeted actions next week. For now, I encourage all of you to reflect on your values and spend quality time with those that you love this holiday weekend. I will continue to pray for everyone’s safety.