PULSE ONE YEAR LATER:

Q & A with Gays Against Guns DC’s Aaron Overman

A year has almost passed since the Pulse Nightclub tragedy in Orlando, Florida, an historic event that rallied concerned citizens in the LGBTQAI community and allies around the issue of gun violence.

This group of citizens became what is now known as Gays Against Guns DC (GAG DC), an offshoot of the first Gays Against Guns group that originated in New York.

As GAG DC prepares for activities commemorating Pulse during Capital Pride 2017, here we reflect in a first of a series of interviews GAG DC members. The first interview is with Aaron Overman, who describes how Pulse moved him to action on gun violence prevention.

So how did the Pulse Nightclub massacre affect you?

Hearing about Pulse caused a switch in me. It was in the days after the shooting that I decided if things were ever going to change on the issue of guns in America, I needed to take action and become directly and personally involved in the movement for social change.

Has anything changed for you in the last year since the shooting? Why or why not?

Being involved in activism is the best thing that’s happened to me since the shooting. I’ve met so many amazing individuals in GAG and outside of GAG, done great work to expose the gun lobby, and I’m not stopping.

Why is it important to you to highlight this anniversary as a part of Capital Pride 2017 and with GAG DC?

Last year, DC pride coincided with the murders at Pulse. It was a period of mourning and shock. Our sisters and brothers in New York founded GAG within days and created the most powerful moment in the New York pride parade two weeks later. It is important for the DC community to know that GAG is here too, we are active, we are still going strong a year later, and we welcome anyone who wants to join us.

What does being in GAG DC mean to you?

We are small but we are powerful. GAG DC exists within a constellation of other gun violence prevention organizations and our strength is in our unity behind this cause. It also means fellowship and camaraderie in difficult times because the people I know through GAG DC are simply some of the smartest and most dedicated people I’ve ever met.

How do you think others in the LGBTQAI community and beyond could get involved achieving gun violence prevention in DC or nationally?

Quite simply, we need more bodies in the streets and money out of people’s pockets. Ideally, do both. Join a group that you agree with and give them your time and energy. Donate money to groups to support what they do.

What is something unique about you that everyone should know?

I’m trained as an engineer, but if I could bake bread and do activism all day while keeping a roof over my head I would!

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