Everytown’s calculation is this: More than statistics, more than glossy reports, its power comes from the heartbreaking, personal stories of gun violence, told by the people who are living it.
“I’ve seen it when a legislator realizes they are talking to a survivor of gun violence,” said Colin Goddard, a senior policy advocate at Everytown who was shot four times during the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. “It changes the dynamic entirely.”
“It can be very isolating, to be a gun violence survivor,” said Kate Ranta, an Everytown fellow who was shot twice by her ex-husband in 2012 and is now an advocate for stronger gun laws for domestic abusers. “Having each other and not feeling alone is amazing.”
“Your story is your most powerful tool, but we want them to do more than just feel bad,” said Simon, who was a teacher for more than 20 years before joining Giffords’ staff. “More than empathy and sympathy, we want action.”
“I have found that people who have experienced great loss and speak from the heart, they are formidable,” Martinez said. “I think collectively we can make a difference.”