Last May I talked with Shequita Lewis at a block party. Her eyes lit up with excitement as she told me about her new job with a football team. Shequita was a mom, a community activist. She ran for County Commission and truly cared about making a difference in Kalamazoo. About two months later, Shequita was dead. Gunned down and killed by a former partner in front of her children in a domestic violence incident. Why?
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“Gun violence is on the minds, and weighing on the hearts, of everyone in Kalamazoo. And ISAAC members indicated on our recent survey that it is the #1 issue for this convention – to talk about gun violence & fear in our neighborhoods, our churches, synagogues and mosques, our schools, our workplaces, our homes. So tonight, we start by remembering names & faces.”
Completing the ALICE training at Loy Norrix did nothing to quell the very real anxiety of gun violence at school. It made me realize how insufficient it is, practicing barricading a door in a classroom where the tables are nailed to the floor and the chairs all have wheels. How am I supposed to barricade a door with rolly chairs? How am I supposed to practice this protocol in one class when the set up and furniture in all my classes is different? The C in ALICE stands for “counter” which is a nice way of saying children are expected to fight off people with assault weapons. The normalcy of gun violence is traumatic, this training is traumatic, living in America right now is traumatic. We are not soldiers, we are students. DO WE HAVE TO LIVE LIKE THIS? NO!
Youth and neighborhood families that still see their loved one’s bodies
Hearing the tears of mothers, the feeling of rejection by families who stand in the parking lot waiting to hear updates on their loved ones because the hospital is on lockdown.
The trauma of watching young kids learn to cope and sit still in classrooms after the loss of a father or mother.
While the fear of blood-stained neighborhoods, swat teams, excessive police presence and news reporters crowd the streets, in spite of young kids and families wanting to grieve loved ones, release balloons and honor the deceased.
WHY DO WE HAVE TO LIVE LIKE THIS…?
Ed Genesis (Given by Patrese Griffin in his place)
…is there a value in violence?
kind of looks that way
movies, music, video games, the NRA
companies push for profits & more funds
even supermarkets grossly promote guns to our sons
water guns, cap guns, dart guns, Nerf guns, b.b.guns, paintball guns are just a few
& since we’re talking about guns
laser tag & duck hunt too…
they’re plenty to make sure more they explore
what it feels like to act out an imaginary war
shooting a gun, shooting is fun,
shooting something or shooooot…shooting at
is this innocent or an intentional plan?
to make sure there is a gun in every hand
hands that have held toy weapons, a half of
sandwich & a juice box drink
all seem to be being shown a particular way
& then what?
All: Do we have to live like this? NO
Can we do something about it? YES