I’ve been grateful, during my first 6 months here, to be able to jump right in to learning about and participating in advocacy work through the End Gun Violence Michigan (EGVMI) initiative, of which our diocese is a sponsoring member. It takes a lot of time and intention to build the relationships and trust necessary to push for the kind of change that EGVMI is trying to make, and I’ve felt humbled to get to be a part of that kind of community organizing so soon after arriving.
End Gun Violence Michigan is a coalition of people and organizations that are working together to “consider and decide whether a gun safety ballot initiative is possible in 2024.” In other words, they are trying to see if they can build up enough trust and energy among these people and organizations to be able to take a ballot initiative directly to the people. This kind of effort takes a great deal of time, organization, and money, but it might be the only way to pass these sorts of reforms, given their stagnation in the legislature. The coalition is growing and already includes some diverse and powerful partners from around the state, like March for Our Lives Michigan, the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit, and Interfaith Action of Southwest Michigan. You can read more on their website here.
I hope that we at St. Clare’s will continue to show up to support this work. Reducing gun violence is about creating a safer community, and I think at this moment it’s also about making our democracy work, which takes effort and commitment and usually some meetings! It probably won’t be glamorous (real democracy usually isn’t), but I think this is the kind of thing that is absolutely our call as Christians, as people committed to justice, and even just as people who value human life. I also think it’s the kind of thing that’s worth our effort and that is likely to create real change. There’s no better antidote for despair than getting involved in something that can make a difference.
So, here’s the invitation for today, and it’s a simple one: Sign up and show up (on Zoom!) to the teach-in on July 21, details here, to learn more about the state of gun violence in our area. Educating ourselves is important, but so is showing up, to signal that we’re committed and willing to do something in service of this goal. I hope to see all of you there.