This was a hard blog post to write, but it’s an important one.
This past weekend we had – not just one – but two mass shootings in the United States. Thirty-one people died and dozens were injured in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Also this weekend, though less covered in mainstream media, Chicago had its deadliest weekend of the year. Fifty-five people were shot, seven of them fatally.
Like a lot of Americans, I know that the gun issue is a complex one. I grew up with family members and close relatives who have served in the military and in law enforcement. I have family members who own guns. I’ve also lived and worked on the southside of Chicago, where gun violence is a daily problem, and still have relatives there.
But no matter your position on gun access or gun control, we can all agree on one thing: We have to be better than this weekend. While gun violence in America is common, we need to remember it is not normal. This much hate and hurt is not normal.
It was reported that in Dayton, the governor’s remarks to the grieving were interrupted with chants of, “Do something! Do something!”
If every act, no matter how small, matters … what can we do?
I’ve often used this blog to talk about the impact of action and the capacity we all have to make our world better, and at Points of Light we believe in the power of people to make our vision for a better future a reality. It requires us to channel our outrage, our anger, our sadness and our fear to make us better.
We can use our voices to advocate and amplify the messages and positions we support, talking about important topics with our friends and our networks.
We can vote for leaders who’ll help us build a better future. We can tell them, loudly, what we envision that to look like, and we can help them be the agents for good that we expect them to be.
We can buy products and services from companies taking an active role in building better communities today and for future generations.
We can volunteer in our neighborhoods to make our communities stronger, safer places.
We can donate our money, our things and our time to help those who need it, and to remind ourselves just who we are and what we value.
Times like these hold a mirror to our society. What we see when we look into that mirror is defined by the actions we take – even and especially when it’s hard.
We are better than this weekend. Collectively, we can prove it.
Natalye Paquin is president and CEO of Points of Light.