The Solution to Gun Violence in America

Something is shifting in me. Maybe it was what happened in Dallas. Or maybe it was the Pulse Nightclub. It felt close to home because that same night we were walking through the Gay Pride party in West Hollywood. We need change. And we all need to be a part of it.

Senator Chris Murphy’s account of the Newtown Elementary school teacher and her autistic student woke me up. I’ve heard countless news reports covering the atrocity in that school. But hearing Senator Murphy recount the story of one teacher that chose to stay behind to be with her student, costing them both their lives, that’s when it really hit me.

Sen. Chris Murphy concluding the ninth-longest Senate fillibuster.

“Tikkun Olam.” It’s a Jewish phrase: acts of kindness to repair the world.

I am a Jew. Passively, I’m a Jew because my parents are and it’s my cultural heritage. Actively, I’m a Jew because I celebrate the high holidays (my Passover Seder connects Exodus to the Syrian refugee crisis) and because I practice Tikkun Olam. So does my best friend.

She’s a yoga therapist. She works with women suffering from traumatic sexual and childhood trauma. Sexual abuse and eating disorders is a national epidemic affecting millions of Americans.

It’s an issue too big for one person. But one person can have a far-reaching impact.

When talking about her work, she told me “Sometimes it’s about getting a girl to feel comfortable and safe enough to just close her eyes.” She also says that she’s lucky. “I get to have a career where the more successful I am, the more people I get to help.” And she’s making a difference in the lives of hundreds of girls and women, who in turn are positively effecting exponentially more.

We can overcome the grip of the NRA. We can overcome feckless members of Congress. Because it’s not up to them.

Voting is not the end of our civic involvement. It’s the beginning. Our world is shaped by people that already know that. It’s time we make our voices heard. It’s time we get involved and speak up like the internet doesn’t exist. To make change happen, we need to show up and be the change we want to see. Bernie won’t save us. He proudly shouts that in almost every speech: “You are the political revolution. Not me.” As I’ve been getting more involved in local issues, I understand what he meant.

I’ve joined the increasingly-powerful advocacy group Every Town for Gun Saftey, which is taking on the NRA and fighting for gun sense.

The solutions to the horrific and heart-breaking gun violence in our communities and country need our support. It’s up to us to get involved and make the change happen that we want to see. I’m the solution. And so are you.