With increasing frequency, acts of mass violence continue appearing in news headlines. The urge to act is often stifled by the feeling of inadequacy for the task at hand. Here are five things you can do today.
1. Use Your Voice
Jot down notes about how you want government leaders to use their power to prevent gun violence. Find your members of Congress at Congress.gov and then call the Capitol Switchboard or send an email to share your desires.
Use Resources to Respond to Gun Violence from The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, Gun Violence Prevention from the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, or resources like them to help you gather your thoughts.
2. Donate Blood
Give blood to your local blood donation center. There is a great need for blood following mass violence. Ensure hospitals have what they need when the moment arises. Consider donating regularly.
Families impacted by violence will have significant financial need in the coming days and months. Your money can help with funeral costs, legal fees, victim services, and survivor funds.
4. Broach the Topic
Not talking about it doesn’t make the reality go away. Chances are that at least some people around you are having a difficult time coping with the tragedy. Offer compassion, listen deeply, and be open to conversation, but always care for yourself. It is okay to say, “I’m finding this conversation difficult right now, but I am glad we’re having it. Could we please take a break and continue at another time?” Remember to follow up later.
As Christians, prayer must always be at the heart of our action. Be careful to mean what you say. If you tell someone they are in your “thoughts and prayers,” may it be so. And, if you find it hard to pray, remember it is never about the words. Know that you are not alone in crying out “How long, O LORD?” Consider praying with the psalms to join with our ancestors in deep lament or writing your own lament (scroll down to “Creating a Liturgy of Lament”). Allow your faith to move you to action.