As families in two very different communities bury the victims of our country’s latest mass shootings, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities join the thousands across the country who are calling for lawmakers to take action that will bring an end to the large-scale violence.
We urge legislators to pass legislation that bans assault weapons, requires universal background checks for all gun sales, makes weapons trafficking a federal crime, and funds gun violence prevention research. Limiting access to guns addresses just one part of the multi-layered root cause of violence and any program to address the issue must consider these other factors as well.
Our young people feel lonely and isolated. A recent report indicates that the majority of Millennials (ages 23-37) and Generation Zs (ages 18-22) are lonely and do not believe they have meaningful relationships with others, despite their constant connection to social media. It is more difficult to feel empathy with others when you lack strong face-to-face connections with people.
What also helps pull the trigger is hate, anger and fear stoked by the words of individuals who target people who are different from ‘us,’ and who blame ‘them’ for our social ills. When immigrants and people of color are held to blame by those in power, impressionable individuals can often hear their words as a call to action against those groups.
We must call on lawmakers to establish gun control policies. We must increase access to mental health care. We must reach out to the young people in our lives to let them know that they are loved by us and by God. We must watch our own language and confront the racist rhetoric of those we encounter. And we must pray for those lost and injured, their family and friends and our communities.
Please join us in our efforts.
The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities
Syracuse, NY; Williamsville, NY; Peekskill, NY; Mount Vernon, NY; Pittsburgh, PA; Honolulu, HI