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April Spotlight: Shenee Johnson, Survivor Fellow and New York Volunteer

Shenee’s son Kedrick was murdered in 2010, just a few weeks from his high school graduation and expected to enter St. John’s University in the fall. Since his murder, Shenee has made a lifelong commitment to the gun violence prevention movement. Shenee hit the ground running, determined to help put an end to the gun violence epidemic and joining forces with many on-the-ground organizations in NYC. She has been a volunteer with Moms Demand Action since 2014.

For many, 2020 was a year full of challenges and heartache. Do you have any advice for fellow survivors for how you remain resilient and committed to the mission in 2021?

The advice for fellow survivors during this challenging year is to always remember why we do this work. Always keep in the forefront that we are survivors and gun violence prevention advocates, and that we are committed to saving lives. Also, remember to take care of yourself while doing so. Balance is key.

What has it meant to you to be part of Moms Demand Action and the Everytown Survivor Network?

Volunteering for Moms Demand Action and Everytown has truly been amazing over the past six years. I have bonded with many survivors and volunteers across the country who have become my support system. You are my tribe. We advocate together, help change gun laws together and sometimes we have cried together. However, we always manage to keep going together. I have learned so much from the training, and now I am a trainer. Growth in advocacy makes our movement stronger.

What is one thing you hope to personally accomplish as a survivor leader in the coming year?

As a survivor leader, I hope to empower survivors. Yes, we have experienced a tragic loss and feel broken at times, but we are Survivor Strong. However you have the opportunity to lead in whatever capacity you feel you are strong in. Just because you are a survivor doesn’t mean you can’t be a chapter leader and can’t bring your expertise to the table. Of course it’s natural to be a survivor leader, but what I realized in my other roles, I have gained so much knowledge and now I am trained to lead through Moms Demands Action. Always empower yourself and you can help empower others.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

You can turn your pain into power. Sure, there will be roadblocks, and there will be times that you may doubt yourself or you may feel like giving up. But trust me, those feelings will pass. Take it easy on yourself, for you are human. You experienced a tragic event in your life, but you managed to pick up the banner and lead the way. That, to me, is excellent, and resilience.

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