Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Here. Together.

On the eve of the American election cycle -- when we don't yet know if the voters will prove that Love Always Trumps Hate or if we are in it for the even longer haul -- I find myself called to share a small glimpse into my heart. 

I've written about it before: we owe our children safe schools; safe movie theaters; safe places of worship; safe streets. We cannot remove every single danger - and we shouldn't - but we can prevent gun violence. We can take common sense steps to protect our children and ourselves. This is a mountain I am quite literally willing to die on (though I would really, really, really rather not). 

I am dedicated to this cause because I have two children who deserve a chance at a glorious future and unlike far too many parents throughout the United States, I still can help them create those futures.  

We knew that moving to the United States dramatically increased the risk of gun violence impacting our small family directly. We knew the data - though, honestly, we didn't understand it really and we also didn't have the whole picture, like the prevalence of lock down drills in all schools - and we assumed the risk. 
(Side note, isn't it ridiculous that a place like the United States has that type of risk?!) 

I already had three years of experience calling and emailing. I was somewhat excited to hook into the local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. So I did. First, I ran a race.

 ...and the entire family wore orange to represent our commitment to gun violence prevention on June 2. 

I even found a hilariously loud pant suit in bright orange. I bought it. I rock it. 

Then, as the election cycle heated up, some very scary trends started to emerge. Like calls for violence and gun-based intimation. Hatred. Fear. 

Also some very scary things took place. On June 12, 49 people dancing in a night club were massacred. On June 13, I attended a memorial at a local club. And we left the orange light of gun violence prevention shine for many nights. 


Once again, no change. Well, except that now 42,000 people who identify as LGBTQ and their allies are organized and activated. I remained committed to gun violence prevention and now I had another reason to be so.

I signed up to talk to community members about BeSmart.

Then one of the candidates proudly embraced his NRA endorsement and claimed he could stand in the street and shoot someone and not lose a single vote. He was wrong but still, millions cheered. And the other candidate embraced common sense gun violence prevention policies.

My choice was very clear. Not only is my husband foreign-born; my extended family and circle of friends boasts all sorts of fantastic people with different abilities, sexuality, religions, creeds who are every bit as equal as anyone else; healthcare is a right; and my children deserve to live without the fear of gun violence. 

I went into even greater action because of all that and because I am a Gun Sense Voter. 

I got active on the local as well as national election level. For the first time. Ever. 

Sometimes, the choice was made very easy for me, like fantastic advertisements like this: 

I knocked on doors. Sometimes in groups, most of the time alone. I went to "bad neighborhoods" where people are directly impacted by bad policies on income, health insurance, and gun violence. Areas that are struggling and have an especially difficult time voting. Boy, was I rewarded with hugs and high fives and "thank you" in about five different languages.

So I went again..

and again..

and again...

I went so many times I stopped taking pictures.

I made signs. I carried signs.

I registered voters. I encouraged people to vote. I even started making calls.

Because, here's the deal: I am not alone. There are many of us. Some of us have an awesome sense of humor.
"Run like Trump is trying to grab your pussy"

Others are all fired up.

Some have always been optimistic.

Some are shaking with anxiety and have been running more often than usual (me).

And we are all here. Together.

Hillary Clinton, our gun sense & family leave sense & minimum wage sense & foreign policy sense & health care sense candidate, may not win tomorrow. She may.

Our 200 local candidates that stand up for gun violence prevention may sweep into their new offices. Or they may not. 

 And we will still be here. For our children. For ourselves. We are stronger together.



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