Statement on Recent Gun Violence

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On May 14, in Buffalo, New York, an 18-year old gunman committed an act of atrocity rooted in racism.

On May 17, in Laguna Wood, California, a man opened fire on a Taiwanese church congregation that killed one person and wounded five.

On Tuesday, May 24, in Uvalde, Texas, 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School were massacred.

Gun violence has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic to a decades long high, but gun violence in America is nothing new. There are 321 people shot in the United States every day (https://www.bradyunited.org/key-statistics). Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens (https://everytownresearch.org/report/gun-violence-in-america/).

There are no words that fully express the multitude of feelings that we are collectively experiencing, but those of the Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong are particularly resonate:

Abiding Anger

by the Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong

(from To Wake, To Rise, edited by the Rev. William Sinkford)

I need a fishbowl where I can bracket hope for a while

I need a container to let my grief fill the cup before I pour it out

I need to feel the pain, the sorrow, the crushing of my soul

From racism, sexism, heterosexism, capitalism

I need to be in touch with raw anger

I need to weep until my eyes become bloated

I need to stay awake at night, sleepless from the rage inside me

Don’t get me to hope just yet

Let me abide for a while with my Holy Lamentation

It is my sincerest hope that in this moment, we might find the space within our religious community to give space to the pain, the sorrow, and the anger. Let us grieve together, for the victims and their families. Then, may we find together, the courage to demand action.

Please find below links to two statements from the co-chairs of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force—Liandra Pires and Leslie Moran. Get involved in the work of the task force. Things can change; things must change.

Statement on the Buffalo shooting

Statement on the Texas shooting

In faith,

Liandra Pires and Leslie Moran

GVP Taskforce Co-chairs