By Aaron Baxter, NFTY-NE Corresponding Secretary 5777
Today is the start of Gun Violence Awareness month in the United States. Gun violence is a prevalent topic in the news and even in our personal lives, and it impacts each of us in individual ways. Wherever we turn, we see the devastating impact gun violence has on our towns, states and country. This year, NFTY Northeast has tried to address this problem.
We asked ourselves: what can we do? How can we make a change? How can we educate everyone about gun violence? In October at the first regional board meeting of the NFTY year, the new Change for Change amendment was introduced. This amendment states that the money collected during NFTY Northeast’s “Change for Change” fundraisers will go towards Everytown for Gun Safety to help end gun violence and build safer communities. Further stated is that our region will take initiative on the matter by continuing the discussion of gun violence throughout the year.
To this end, we have raised even more money for Everytown by selling special regional merchandise- orange bracelets emblazoned with the phrase “not one more” to show that we cannot let anyone be a victim of gun violence and we need to do everything within our power to promote the cause. We also ran a powerful program at Institute to bring attention to this important issue. At the local level, youth groups like WESTY, The Shalomites and BELY held events to raise awareness and promote advocacy. SHAFTY opted to donate all of the money usually set aside for event merchandise at Fall Conclavette, and together we donated over $2000 to Everytown.
But on the individual level, how can you help spread awareness? Show your support by wearing orange! The color symbolizes the value of human life and has been adopted as the color of gun violence awareness. You can also talk about gun violence with your friends, family and community members. As a group, we can donate money, ask our members of Congress to support laws to improve background checks, and even educate ourselves about what more we can do. Learn more about NFTY’s efforts here. Ending gun violence starts with you, and altogether we can make a change.
Listen to “Not One More” the song written by Zach Blankstein and Ben Snyder for Club BELY, Temple Beth Elohim’s ambitious event to build community, raise awareness, and take action against gun violence.