from Everytown for Gun Safety
NEW YORK — Today, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, the nation’s largest gun violence prevention group with nearly six million supporters, announced a new initiative with faith leaders and faith organizations across the country who are pledging to mobilize faith communities to elect gun sense candidates up and down the ballot in the 2020 elections.
“At the heart of Catholic social teaching is the fundamental belief in the dignity of every human being – that each and every person is sacred, a creation of God,” said Johnny Zokovitch, executive director of Pax Christi USA, the National Catholic peace and justice movement. “I live in St. Louis, where we’re experiencing an epidemic of gun violence, of children being shot and killed in our city with mind-blowing regularity. It’s the same story in cities all across our country. It’s time we honor the dignity of our children by putting concrete action behind all those ‘thoughts and prayers.’”
Faith leaders and organizations partnering with Everytown know that gun violence prevention is morally imperative, as more than 100 Americans die from gun violence every day. The faith community has seen the devastating effects of gun violence in places of worship firsthand, and the coalition includes a faith leader whose loved ones were shot and killed in a place of worship.
Individuals and organizations partnering with Everytown will work to activate their networks around gun safety in the 2020 election, including communicating with their networks around the importance of voting for gun sense candidates in 2020; hosting community conversations and events, and encouraging their networks to register to vote and pledge to vote for gun sense candidates. Partners will host at least 50 events to mobilize communities of faith, with a focus on key battleground states including: AZ, CO, FL, GA, IA, MI, MN, NC, NH, NV, PA, TX, and WI.
Coalition leaders will also participate in an online training and organizing summit in summer 2020, where Everytown will host faith leaders from across the country to discuss the role of gun safety in faith communities and how to mobilize this community ahead of the 2020 election.
Interfaith organizations and individuals partnering with Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund are listed below, and are available to speak to the press.
- Rev. Michael McBride, founder and Lead Pastor of The Way Church in Berkeley, CA. Director of Faith in Action’s LIVE FREE gun violence prevention campaign, co-founder of the Black Church PAC, and the National Black Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium
- Shane Claiborne, president of Red Letter Christians and a prominent speaker, activist, and best-selling author
- Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute, who is the subject of the Emmy Award-winning documentary, The Armor of Light and the author of Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister’s Rediscovery of Faith, Hope, and Love
- The Rev. Traci Blackmon, executive minister of Justice & Witness Ministries of The United Church of Christ and senior pastor of Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Missouri
- Dr. Michael W. Austin, Professor of Philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University and author of God and Guns in America
- Joel Hunter, retired senior pastor, Northland Church, chairman of Community Resource Network, and prominent author and activist
- Rev. Sharon Risher, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network whose mother, Ethel Lance, and Cousins, Susie Jackson and Tywanza Sanders, were shot and killed on June 17, 2015, at The Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina
- Rev. Deanna Hollas, gun violence prevention ministry coordinator, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
- Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
- Dr. Simran Jeet Singh, visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary, author of Fauja Singh Keeps Going, and host of the Spirited podcast
- Amy Sullivan, founder of the Impolite Company podcast, author of The Party Faithful: How and Why Democrats are Closing the God Gap
- Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Hemant Wadwahni, advisor, Hindu American Seva Communities
- Colin Christopher, gun violence prevention advocate and Muslim faith activist
- Rev. Jason Carson Wilson, founding executive director, Bayard Rustin Liberation Initiative, a faith-inspired organization dedicated to angelic troublemaking for justice to help make policies protecting same-gender-loving (SGL)/LGBTQ+ people and people of color a reality
- Johnny Zokovitch, executive director of Pax Christi USA, the National Catholic peace and justice movement
- Lisa Sharon Harper, president and founder of Freedom Road Inc. and Author of The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right
- Sharmaine Brown, Everytown Survivor Network Fellow whose 23-year-old son, Jared Brown, was killed after being hit by a stray bullet in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 11, 2015