EPF Young Adult Delegation: Reflection on Sunday’s Gun Violence Rally

The gun shootings in America that shock us most are the ones we see ourselves. We see our own vulnerability. These are the moments when we realize the tragedy that we are watching unfold is one that could happen to us. At the very least, they invoke intense and fearful reactions. And in our best moments, they charge us to take those feelings and make meaning and change. At our best, we take the moments that touch us and expand our thinking to how these moments are common humanity.

On Sunday morning, the Bishops United Against Gun Violence convened a rally. While there, we heard from the family of Carman Schentrup, killed in Parkland, and Abigail Zimmer, a young woman who had organized a school walk out following the shooting in Parkland, Florida. These voices echoed a growing consciousness that public spaces do not feel safe. They remind us of the fear that young people experience just going to school, and they remind us of the tragic loss of young life. As a social worker who worked with youth and families on the South and West Sides of Chicago for four years, this is not new. This is not shocking. It is ordinary life. People live with the daily fear of gun violence, on their street, outside their schools, on their front porch. In 2018, nearly 14 times the number of people have been shot in Chicago alone as in school shootings nationwide. We are Episcopalians who hold that the way we pray is the way we live. I believe that these “ordinary” shootings should also have been part of the gun violence rally. Without mention of it, we have essentially said that these lives and communities are not worth a mention, not worth our commitment, not worth our Christian love.

- Cate Faulkner, Episcopal Peace Fellowship


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