As a friend and supporter of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, I am deeply saddened and angered by the escalation of gun violence and mass shootings in the United States.
We know that violence effects everybody and that the issue of gun violence is very complex. But fortunately, there are many things we can do ato confront this mass problem.
We should never allow violence to have the last word.
I urge people to get involved, to talk to their neighbors, to talk to their families. Develop a crisis action plan in case there is a shooting in your community or your school.
Do what you can to build a community. At the end of the day, communities need to advocate for themselves. We cannot wait for people in power to solve these problems for us. It’s every day people who can solve these issues.
I also believe that the only people who can stop the violence are the young people. I ask educators, parents, activists to work with young people with children to figure out what’s going on. Look for warning signs. How can we support young people who do have anger in their heart or in their mind? Dr. King used to say that “Violence is the language of the unheard,” and I truly believe that. So how can we get young people to express disagreement? To express their opinion without having to pick up a gun? We have to make sure that we help young people vent and express themselves constructively. There are many ways w can do that but we have to educate ourselves.
If you’re in Chicago and you need more ideas on how you can help, the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie has the Take a Stand Center where they feature activists and every day people working to combat issues like gun violence.
Inform yourself and find out what action steps you can take, to improve your community, your city, and your country.