Gun violence leaves a lasting mark on the lives of those who are personally affected — we are a nation of survivors. There are 58% of Americans adults or someone they care for who have personally experienced gun violence in their lifetimes. Gun violence is the second leading cause of death for children and teens in America.
By early February more Americans are killed with guns than are killed in other high-income nations in an entire year. Millions more are shot and wounded, threatened with a gun or witness an act of gun violence. Tragically, our gun death rate is 10 times greater than that of our peer countries. In an average year, 1,163 people die by guns in Michigan. This is unacceptable.
Millions of Americans have experience gun violence, yet as a society, we still struggle to grasp the toll of the crisis beyond statistics or the mass shooting and school shooting we see in the news. Every type of gun violence is a tragedy and must be represented in the gun safety movement.
Gun violence is any form can leave a lasting impact, whether someone has witnessed an act of gun violence, been threatened or wounded with a gun or had someone they cared for wounded or killed with a gun. This includes homicides, gun suicides, domestic violence involving a gun and unintentional shootings.
February 1 through 8 marks the second annual National Gun Violence Survivors Week. This is a week focused on sharing and amplifying the stories of gun violence survivors who live the impact of gun violence every day of the year. In recognition of this significant week, the Wayne State University Board of Governors passed a formal resolution declaring the first week of February to be National Gun Violence Survivors Week on campus. This unprecedented action took place at the Jan. 31 meeting.
For the duration of the week, WSU's Students Demand Action is highlighting Every Town For Gun Safety's Moments That Survive, a year-round digital storytelling site and campaign in which Americans across the country share defining details of their experiences, in their words. These are objects, places or actions that take on a new meaning about how their lives have changed forever after enduring gun violence. Moments That Survive builds community among gun violence survivors and helps the public understand how everyday life changes as a result of gun violence. Survivors and supporters can share their stories on social media using the hashtag #MomentsThatSurvive.
Furthermore, WSU Students Demand Action hosted an open mic night where survivors of gun violence can feel free to share their stories and allies can hear first-hand experiences of the toll gun violence has on our community.
By providing a platform to share diverse experiences with gun violence, we hope to help break the stigma and improve public understanding of our nation's gun violence crisis. Hearing someone else's story may help more Americans recognize their own personal connections and the power to their voice.
If you're interested in joining the movement to end violence, please join WSU's Students Demand Action. We are part of a national initiative created to channel the energy and passion of students into the fight against gun violence. We work on campus and within the City of Detroit to educate others, register voters and demand common-sense solutions to this national crisis.
For more information about our upcoming events, you can find us in Instagram @WSUStudentsDemandAction.
Cover photo by WSU Students Demand Action