Survivors Speak!                  February 2022
With Appreciation, Thanks and Hopefulness

As we close out February, we want to write a love letter to everyone who has made this month one of hope and satisfaction.


It’s been hard to look up from our planning as we embark on our Honor with Action tour. Still, the Sandy Hook family settlement with Remington Arms was a miraculous development that filled us with admiration. Our reaction landed in the pages of the Washington Post

Flush with happiness about the Remington suit, San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention warmly embraced us at the official kick-off to our 2022 Honor with Action tour on February 19.  It was so gratifying to begin our year-long odyssey in a city we love, with people we love. See some pictures from the day below, and check out news coverage

And that’s not the only new venture. We are the initial guests for a podcast, Voices of Survivors, co-produced by us and hosted by fellow survivor Amber Starr Currie, and each month we’ll be sharing her show on our website. In this issue, learn more about Amber and what motivates her to spotlight survivor voices.

If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at our new toolkit for survivors, produced in collaboration with Giffords. We are very proud of this joint effort, and we hope you find it helpful. If you’d like to download a PDF, click here.

During Black History Month, Giffords honored black activists working to combat gun violence. We link to their profiles in this issue. 

Our new mindfulness meditation class, free to survivors, is about to begin. Registration closes on March 1. We have nearly 100 survivors already signed up. Sandy was recently interviewed about the upcoming class, and Mindful Magazine wrote about the benefits of mindfulness training for survivors. 

Also, check out this issue’s selection of quotes from survivors and gun violence prevention press coverage.

We wish you all a March of peace, beauty, and progress. 

Warmest regards,
Sandy and Lonnie

New Podcast By and For Survivors Debuts

So many times, Amber Starr Currie has wanted to share her story in order to help others. But she respected the wishes of her mother, who rejected all requests to be interviewed about Dec. 30, 1994. 

On that morning, Amber’s ex-boyfriend, who had been stalking the then-17 year old high school senior for months, broke into her family’s home armed with a shotgun and took the life of her father, a teacher and coach, when he intervened to save her life.

In the years that followed, Amber’s life moved forward, with marriage, children, and a career as a librarian, and she bypassed requests to talk about the tragedy. She  knew the writers and television producers who approached her family for interviews would ask her about a series of other horrific crimes in her community that got “piled in” with her father’s murder, and she did not want to be asked questions about other families she knew.  

Read more here

Honor With Action Tour Officially Kicks Off
Thank you San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention for collaborating with us on the launch of our 2022 Honor With Action Tour on Feb. 19! The speakers included Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, advocate and activist Bishop Cornelius Bowser, and survivors Essie Mae Horne and Maria Gaspar. 
Giffords Highlights Black Activists
Giffords, the gun-violence prevention organization founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, honored, in February, Blacks who are working to save lives in their communities. They include: 

Brenda Mitchell of Chicago, who has been active in trying to end gun violence and helping other survivors ever since a shooter took her son's life in 2005; 

The Hunger 9, an community advocacy group that staged a 21-day public hunger strike in a violence-plagued area of Miami; 

Destini Philpot, a survivor and community organizer from Baltimore who co-founded the Good Kids Mad City collective; and 

Kelli Dillon of Los Angeles, who founded a community organization focused on anti-violence workshops and crisis assistance for trauma victims. 

Read more about each one of them here
Rolling Along: Keep Up with Us!

Want to feel part of the action as we travel the country?
We've got some beautiful hats, T-shirts and other apparel, as well as  tote bags, mugs and notecards, that are available to all via our online Bonfire store

We will give out pens and notepads as complimentary "swag" at our upcoming stops. On February 19, in partnership with San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention, we launched our tour!

What Survivors Are Saying
"I pause and I breathe. I take a vacation with myself, for three minutes, whatever it takes me to just bring myself back and center myself." Brenda Mitchell, on the benefits of mindfulness meditation 

"I wouldn’t need counseling if a Virginia Beach employee hadn’t murdered my wife. I’m going to need it for the rest of my life. My kids are going to need it." Jason Nixon, on proposed Virginia legislation to create a $10 million fund to support survivors

"When are we going to get tired of seeing the daily news reports? A good doctor or a bad shooter is why my son survived when a stray bullet flew through the window and pierced him in the back of the head." Deandra Dycus, at an anti-violence rally in Indianapolis

“I need to speak up and speak loudly and continue to do this for those that can’t speak about it anymore." Jennifer Prather, whose son's life was taken in a shooting at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, 2021
In the News
A study published on Feb. 21 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that stand-your-ground laws were associated with increases in shooting deaths, with increases of 10 percent or more in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and other southern states. The study was released five days before the anniversary of the shooting of Trayvon Martin

The Giffords Law Center released its annual gun law scorecard, a ranking of each state bases on the strengths of its gun laws, on Feb. 17. At the top were California, New York, New Jersey and New York. The states with the weakest laws included Iowa, Missouri and Montana. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislators are backing a bill that would let private citizens sue gun manufacturers, importers, distributers and sellers of assault weapons or unregistered "ghost" guns. The legislation is modeled on a controversial abortion law that lets individuals bring civil suits against providers who violate the law. 

A .22-cailber AR-15 lookalike being marketed for children is drawing the attention of gun-violence prevention advocates and elected officials. WEE1 Tactical, an Illinois manufacturer, debuted its JR-15 at a gun show in January. In a press release from November, the company said it sought to design a gun that "operates just like Mom and Dad's gun." 
Help For Survivors
  • Survivors Empowered has a roster of dedicated trauma therapists who help survivors of gun violence heal from the aftermath. Visit our website for more information. 
  • We continue to look for volunteers across the country who want to help build coalitions and work with survivors of gun violence in their states. If interested in supporting our efforts, please contact us here.
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