We must take meaningful action

10 Jun, 24

Dear Friends, 

June is Gun Violence Awareness Month, a time to remember the many lives cut short by gun violence and a time to recommit and reimagine taking bold action to enhance safety and togetherness in our community.

This year marks two years since the tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that claimed the lives of 21 beloved educators and students. Mass shootings are but one symptom of a larger, more complex problem of gun violence that is claiming lives every single day. Gun violence is now one of the leading causes of death among children and teens nationwide.

In 2023, nearly 43,000 people died from gun violence in the United States. Despite the calls from young people, survivors, and family members who have lost loved ones to gun violence to pass common-sense gun safety measures, our state’s leaders rejected life-saving reforms supported by the majority of Texans. Instead, Texas has steadily weakened gun laws and flooded our streets with guns. Since 2000, Texas lawmakers have passed more than 100 bills to loosen gun laws, which are associated with higher rates of gun violence. Deaths from firearms in Texas are approaching levels not seen in nearly three decades. Enough is enough.

This Gun Violence Awareness Month, we must continue to demand meaningful gun reform laws in Texas while working to keep our communities safe at the local level.

In Harris County, we are fighting for a future where no one lives in fear of gun violence, where every individual and family can reach their full potential and access resources that keep them safe and healthy. We are rolling up our sleeves and working alongside community members, community-based partners, Harris County Public Health, and law enforcement to create effective programs that connect communities to the resources and services they need to thrive. This means keeping guns off the streets and breaking cycles of violence.

Our Community Violence Interruption Program (CVIP) is proactively working to stop gun violence before it starts by working with credible messengers to interrupt violence and defuse immediate tensions. This approach not only aims to help build long-term peace but also fosters a safer community for everyone. Already, our CVIP program has prevented 51 potential instances of gun violence from happening through interruptions/mediations. Harris County has also taken 4,200+ guns off our streets in one of the most aggressive and successful gun buyback initiatives in our nation's history.

We cannot achieve this alone. We need you to keep the pressure on state and federal leaders to take meaningful action, including banning assault weapons, or else more tragic events are inevitable. Gun Violence Awareness Month is our moment, but building real safety is a movement. Together, we can create lasting change and ensure a safer future for everyone.


Rodney Ellis