From a tired black woman who feels so fragile…

As I sit here and reflect on the past week of my life, I feel so fragile. The pain that has been caused by mass shootings has fractured me once again. 

In the span of one week, 10 people were fatally shot at Buffalo Supermarket. More specifically, ten elder black people at their neighborhood Tops Friendly Market. All they were doing was shopping. All they were doing was living. 

Now, last week, 19 children and 2 adults lost their lives in Uvalde, Texas. Children. 19 children. Teachers who were trying to protect their students. They lost their lives. All they were doing was living. A pair of cousins now gone together. An eight-year-old is now gone. So many children, just gone. 

I am so saddened. I am so angry. I am so empty. 

The constant loss that fills the air over and over again makes life seem so shattered. Imagining the loss of a child, mother, grandmother, brother, or sister is unimaginable. Yet for so many, it is a reality they are forced with. 

Thinking about the children who lost their lives in Texas. They were robbed of the years they should have had with their loved ones. They were robbed of attending their first prom. They were robbed of their graduation. They were robbed of whatever could have come of their lives. They were robbed of the choice to make mistakes. They were robbed. 

Thinking about the elderly who lost their lives going to a “friendly” market. They were robbed of the opportunity to see their children again. They were robbed of the opportunity to see their grandchildren again. They were robbed of the opportunity to enjoy their retirement. They were robbed. 

I am furious at the thought that doing absolutely nothing wrong, just living and being a human being, can allow you to lose your life in this county. Whether young or old, gun violence doesn’t discriminate. 

But the United States does. 

It is a struggle to be a minority in this country and feel safe, raise kids, and want to get up every day and fight for your right to exist peacefully. 

I think now about Sandy Hook. It was 10 years ago, I was 14. I was mortified by the idea of going back to school. Would I be safe? Would I make it home? What if my school was next? 

I remember having panic attacks at the idea of going to school. I remember thinking through scenarios of what to do if Sandy Hook turned into my school. I remember questioning every day if I told my family I loved them the last time I saw them. I remember my fear. 

10 years have gone by, what has changed? Absolutely nothing. This same incident happens over and over again. 3,865 times to be exact. That many mass shootings have happened since Sandy Hook. Let that sink in. 

Don’t become desensitized to what is happening around you. Feel the pain, and make a difference. 

We can’t sit here and let this keep happening. People in power need to use their platforms to make a change, but we also have a platform that we can use. 

As a chapter, you can raise awareness on this issue. Host an awareness week where you partner with organizations that are doing work around gun violence such as Brady United, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Moms Demand Action. These organizations are not the end all be all but rather a starting point for you to do more research and find more. During this week you can raise awareness, you can host an event where members can write letters to legislators no matter their affiliation, you can plan a demonstration, host a symposium to hear from families of victims or advocates, and so much more. 

Your voice matters and has the opportunity to make some serious changes. I know it can feel like you are constantly climbing a hill that gets taller and taller. I know it feels like you are already drowning and someone just keeps adding extra water. 

But something must be done. 

I am fragile. I am angry, I am empty. 

But I will go on for Celestine Chaney, Roberta Drury, Katherine “Kat” Massey, Heyward Patterson, Aaron Salter, Pearl Young, Ruth Whitfield, Margus Morrison, Andre Mackneil, Geraldine Talley, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, Alithia Ramirez, Amerie Jo Garza, Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, Eliahana Cruz Torres, Eliana “Ellie” Garcia, Eva Mireles, Irma Garcia, Jackie Cazares, Jailah Nicole Silguero, Jayce Luevanos, Jose Flores, Layla Salazar, Makenna Lee Elrod, Maite Rodriguez, Miranda Mathis, Nevaeh Bravo, Rojelio Torres, Tess Marie Mata, Uziyah Garcia, Xavier Lopez. 

Remember them. Go on for them. 

Their journey ended but you can fight on for them. Sending prayers and well-wishes only go so far. 

Do your research on how you can take action in your state, how you can make a direct impact on those families, and how you can use your platform to make an impact.

As I now review this post, on the second day of June I am even more broken. Not one or two additional shootings have happened, but three. When will it end? When will the loss of a life be enough for action to change? When will sending good thoughts and prayers mean nothing more than saying nothing at all. When will the only accepted well-wishes be action?