On May 24, the community of Uvalde, Texas, received the horrific news that there was an active shooter at Robb Elementary School. By the end of the day, we’d learned there’d been yet another mass shooting by a single gunman in the United States; the shooter had killed at least 19 children and two staff members.
The shooting is the latest of multiple, deadly mass shooter events and 44 incidents of public gun violence in just May alone, including those in Buffalo, New York, and Laguna Woods, California. It marks the 213th mass shooting in the country this year, according to data tracking tool Gun Violence Archive. It’s the worst school shooting since 26 people, including 20 children, were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
You’re probably tired of hearing this.
And, bluntly, it might feel like there’s nothing you can do about the country’s current state of affairs, as the victims of the Uvalde, Texas, shooting are memorialized in headlines, government leaders stall the few pieces of effective gun legislation even on the floor, and people offer up “thoughts and prayers” instead of paramount action.
Gun reform activists to politicians: ‘Body bags. That’s what thoughts and prayers get us.’
But it’s moments like this in which communal shows of support are the most powerful, from individual acts of kindness to local blood donations to national campaigns. Is it enough? Never. Does that mean we shouldn’t try? No.
Here are a few small ways to aid the individuals and families recovering from the shooting, as well as the movement for a safe country free from gun violence.
Uvalde, Texas, is a small town of around 16,000 people and its public schools serve a predominantly Latinx, non-English speaking population, NBC reported. According to the district, the community is also made up of a majority of lower-income families. Consider donating directly to the Uvalde community and regional gun reform activists, in addition to sending money to national organizations.
Individual Go Fund Me Campaigns
Donation platform GoFundMe created a hub of verified fundraisers for the families of those killed in shooting, intended to curb the amount of fundraising fraud that often occurs after a mass tragedy such as this. The website’s Trust and Safety team has vetted each campaign on the page and will continue to update it as more become available.
Texas Gun Sense
Texas Gun Sense is a nonprofit public safety and political advocacy organization that was originally founded as Students for Gun-Free Schools in Texas by survivors of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting. The organization advocates to Texas officials about effective “common sense” gun reform, including things like universal background checks, community-based intervention programs, and other limits on access to assault weapons, and provides state-specific information about gun violence in Texas. Donate here.
Team ENOUGH is a youth-led gun violence prevention organization that’s an offshoot of the established gun-reform advocacy group Brady United. The organization advocates for an intersectional look at gun violence that acknowledges the specific impact gun violence has on Black and Brown communities. Donate to support the organization’s advocacy work.
March for Our Lives
March for Our Lives is a national youth-led gun reform organization that advocates for stricter gun reform laws and student safety, founded after the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. The organization recently launched its “Aid and Alliance” program, as well, which will distribute $500,000 to BIPOC youth organizations and activists involved in grassroots advocacy. Donate to the organization here.
Everytown for Gun Safety
Everytown for Gun Safety is one of the largest gun violence prevention organizations in the country, with a network of more than 8 million gun reform activists around the country who work to increase civic engagement around gun reform and public safety. The organization also advocates directly with local and national politicians for improved gun policies. Donate to the organization’s work here.
Right now, area hospitals and health centers are asking community members to donate blood in the wake of the Robbs Elementary School shooting, as healthcare providers already deal with a statewide blood inventory shortage affecting local blood supplies.
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Uvalde’s nearby blood bank, South Texas Blood and Tissue, has continued to donate blood reserves to the small town and update local donors who want to get involved through its Twitter account. Currently, appointments for blood donations are booked through May 28, but the bank requests that donors keep their appointments and continue to schedule more as the need increases.
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University Health San Antonio, a nearby hospital in San Antonio, Texas, also coordinates blood donations. Learn more about donating blood here.
Use the American Red Cross’s map of North Texas locations to find additional sites where you can donate blood to the regional supply.
Or, consider making monetary donations to these centers that go toward general operating costs and future blood drives.
Legal and mental health support
Texas officials and local organizations have also called on professionals in mental health and legal fields to offer their time supporting families and those affected by the shooting.
Texas Republican representative Tony Gonzales, whose district includes the city of Uvalde, tweeted on May 24 that his office was seeking mental health clinicians to support families in Uvalde. Volunteers were encouraged to contact his office at (210) 806-9920. Gonzales previously voted against gun reform legislation.
Legal advocates are also seeking volunteers to help those affected. The San Antonio Legal Services Association has offered pro bono support for the legal needs of all victims, and requested fellow state attorney volunteer their time, as well. You can contact the association by email at UvaldeResponse@sa-lsa.org
Get to know your leaders
It’s completely understandable to feel jaded to the power of political representatives to reflect a desire for needed gun reform. But gun reform activists still see effective gun legislation as a vital way to make national-level change.
Along with reading President Joe Biden’s post-tragedy remarks calling for common sense gun reform and getting ready to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, voters should be pressuring their representatives to support all levels of gun reform law as legislation continues to stall.
Find out who your representatives are, what bills they’ve introduced, and more through Common Cause, a nonpartisan civic engagement group. Feel free to contact any and all reps to urge them to make changes you believe in. Register to vote and get more information about elections on Vote.gov. You can find out more about state and local election offices here.
Locally, some online are also calling on Texas state leaders to halt upcoming pro-gun events happening across the state, including the NRA Annual Meeting taking place in Houston. According to the association, attendees have already been informed that no firearms will be allowed at the event.
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Part and parcel of holding local and state legislators accountable is staying informed yourself. Use platforms like the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks daily gun-related events across the country, and ShockMarket.org, a tool created by gun reform activists to monitor the amount of gun-related violence since Biden took office, to keep track of the high rates of gun-based violence occurring across the country everyday. On ShockMarket.org, visitors can use built-in tools to tweet statistics directly to their representatives, including President Biden and other White House officials, using prompts like, “@POTUS, 2021 was one of the deadliest years of gun violence in decades — talk about losses gained. Can you please establish an Office of Gun Violence Prevention? Asking for those who no longer can. “
Whatever you can manage to offer in the wake of this latest shooting, let it be more than simple thoughts. Get out on the ground to advocate for reform, donate your time or money, and demand more from representatives. The country needs anything we can get.
This story will continue to be updated with more information.