August: Eliminating Gun Violence

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Gun violence has become a global human rights and public health issue that threatens the basic right to life. Gun violence disproportionately impacts communities of color, women and other marginalized groups in society. Armed violence and climate change are two of the root causes forcing millions of migrants and refugees to flee their homes and communities.

What are some reasonable measures that can be taken that would have immediate security implications? How do we address the underlying contributors to gun violence? How do we create a culture of gun safety?

Panelists: Sister Donna Liette, CPPS, Leslie Washington, Kim Westerman – Learn more about our panelists below.
Host: Charish Badzinski

ACTION ITEMS
  1. Participate in workshops on Restorative Justice Practices and a four-day circle training. Learn about them here.
  2. Visit momsdemandaction.org and everystat.org. Text READY to 64433 to start volunteering with Moms Demand Action.
  3. Submit a comment by August 19 to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in favor of a rule prohibiting “ghost guns.” Click here or text GHOST to 64433 to go to Everytown for Gun Safety’s simple online form.
RESOURCES

Be Smart
https://besmartforkids.org/
Learn how adults can take action to prevent child gun deaths and injuries.

Community Justice for Youth Institute
http://cjyi.org
The mission of the Community Justice for Youth Institute is to build community capacity to resolve youth violence and conflict, help survivors of violence heal, and support families impacted by violent crime through restorative justice training, technical assistance, and advocacy.

EveryTown
https://everytown.org
Find research, reports and calls to action on a wide array of issues related to gun violence.

Giffords Law Center Annual Gun Law Scorecard
https://giffords.org/lawcenter
See how your state stacks up to others in regards to gun safety laws.

Moms Demand Action
https://momsdemandaction.org
Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. We pass stronger gun laws and work to close the loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our families. We also work in our own communities and with business leaders to encourage a culture of responsible gun ownership. We know that gun violence is preventable, and we’re committed to doing what it takes to keep families safe.

National Organization for Victim Assistance
https://www.trynova.org/help-for-crime-victims/
Find resources for victims and survivors of crime and crisis.

Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation
https://pbmr.org
Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation works to build relationships among youth and families impacted by violence and/or conflict; create safe spaces where people can experience radical hospitality, hope, and healing; and promote a restorative justice approach to conflict and build a sense of community.


Meet Our Panelists

Sister Donna Liette, CPPS
Grief Counselor

Sister Donna Liette, CPPS is a Sister of the Precious Blood. She currently holds the position of restorative justice practitioner and director of the women’s programs at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation. Sister received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Dayton and holds a Master of Arts in Education and Supervision from New York University and a master’s degree from Loyola University Chicago in Pastoral Counseling. She spent much of her career in the field of education, both in elementary schools and in the Education Department of St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana. Following many years in education, Sister Donna took on the challenge of creating and directing a residential home in Ohio for women who were leaving prison. In 2010, she joined the staff at the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation. She has been trained as a peacemaking circle trainer and has offered this restorative practice in Cook County Juvenile Detention Center as well as places throughout the States and in Nicaragua and Chile. Currently, Sister offers hospitality and support services to families, particularly mothers, who have lost children to violence or incarceration.


Leslie Washington
Advocate, Survivor

Leslie Washington is a national trainer with Everytown for Gun Safety, and survivor fellow, state survivor lead and volunteer with Moms Demand Action for gun sense. She joined the grassroots movement in 2014 while in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Leslie’s cousin Reginald died by gun suicide and her cousin Keith was murdered in December of 2015; his murder remains unsolved. A survivor of domestic violence, Leslie’s ex-husband threatened her with a firearm when she left him after nine years of domestic abuse. Today, Leslie serves as a strong advocate for survivors and those impacted by gun violence, as well as gives voice for those trapped in abusive domestic situations, too fearful to speak up lest they or their family will be harmed.


Kim Westerman
Activisit

Kim Westerman is a gun violence prevention activist from St. Louis, Missouri. For the past five years, she has been an active volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the nation’s largest grassroots movement to end gun violence. She currently serves as the leader of the St. Louis group for Moms Demand Action, coordinating local efforts and volunteers and serves on their national anti-racism steering committee. Kim works full-time as the congregational communications director for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and serves as vice-chair of the board of Communicators for Women Religious. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Truman State University and a Master’s of Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her free time, Kim can be found baking, camping with her husband, and walking her two rescue dogs. 

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