A Father’s Day plea: “What happened in Newtown can happen anywhere. In any instant, any dad in America could be in my shoes. No one should feel the pain. No one should feel our pain or the pain felt by the tens of thousands of people who’ve lost loved ones to senseless gun violence. … The Sandy Hook Promise begins: ‘Our hearts are broken. Our spirit is not.’ … We will keep moving forward and build public support for common-sense solutions to gun safety.” — Mark Barden, Newtown father (April 17, New York Daily News)

In the six months since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., nearly 4,400 more Americans have been killed by guns.

How do you feel about the fact that Congress has done nothing to make our communities safer? The Coalition Against Gun Violence believes such inaction is unacceptable to the majority of Americans.

The newly organized community group Newtown Alliance is refusing to accept a do-nothing Congress. They are commemorating the six-month anniversary by going to Washington, D.C., this week and hand-delivering letters signed by other like-minded groups to key legislators in the Senate and House of Representatives. The letters will demand action on universal background checks, and will be accompanied by a list of Americans who have been killed since Dec. 14, 2012.

The Newtown families united by unimaginable tragedy have, with their determination and strength, united millions of Americans to make their own communities safer. Newtown Alliance will keep moving forward and building public support for common sense solutions to gun safety. A majority of Americans are aware it is only common sense that specific legislation is necessary to keep firearms and military-style weapons and ammunition out of the hands of prohibited persons.

The Santa Barbara Coalition Against Gun Violence, a grassroots nonprofit, has been working for nonviolence on the Central Coast for 18 years.

Prevention through education is the mission of CAGV. In continuing that goal, CAGV will present another community town hall forum on Thursday, Oct. 17, “Safety in Our Homes, Schools and Community.” Because safety begins in the home with adult role models, we are encouraging parents, grandparents and family members to become actively involved in keeping our homes, schools and community safe.

You and your family can take action by becoming involved in two national programs: the ASK Campaign as parents, and your children can become involved by taking The Pledge. In your home you can encourage nonviolence through CAGV’s five “What I Can Do” principles, which can be viewed on our website by clicking here.

Please contact CAGV today and become an active member. Take action! Call 805.564.6803 or email sbcagv@gmail.com. Click here to learn more about safety in a nation full of firearms.

These words by Mark Barden, father of 7-year-old Daniel Barden, one of the 20 children gunned down at Sandy Hook, were spoken at a press conference introducing President Barack Obama on April 17: “We are NOT defeated. We are here and we will ALWAYS be here because we have no other choice. We are not going away; and every day as more people are killed in this country because of gun violence, our determination grows. Now is still the time.”

NOW is still the time! Become active in this sea of change wrought through the deaths of innocents.

Toni Wellen, chair
Coalition Against Gun Violence