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Jakoby Mitchell: Turning Our Pain Into Purpose

Jakoby Mitchell poses for a photo in front of the U.S. Capitol

Looking to the Future in the Gun Violence Prevention Movement

I am a gun violence survivor. And last summer, I was invited to attend the Don’t Look Away rally in Washington, DC. It was at that rally that I first saw a path for me to channel my own personal experience with gun violence into advocacy, and since then, I’ve been working to start a Students Demand Action Group at my school, Clemson University in South Carolina.

Being a part of Students Demand Action has been an important part of my healing journey. And it is critical for our movement to be a space that inspires and empowers more young people to get involved.

To encourage more young people to join our movement, we must maintain an inclusive environment that makes space for people of all walks of life, and continue to spread information about our work. We need to create more space for young people to learn about gun violence prevention and to connect with other students. Reach out to your friends and bring them to meetings: We want and need as many voices as possible.

As I look to the future, being a part of this amazing organization, I want to not only bring awareness to gun violence but also help survivors turn their pain into their purpose. I hope to make survivors’ voices heard—to let those who are affected by gun violence know that they don’t have to suffer in silence.

Seeing more people take a stand against gun violence gives me hope. Although our work is far from finished, more people are speaking boldly and confidently about this work, making it known that gun violence prevention work is needed, and it brings me hope our movement will succeed.

Black History Month

This Black History Month, we hold space for the Black survivors of gun violence and recognize the gun safety advocates leading the charge at all levels to keep our communities safe. We know that we still have a long way to go to end gun violence—particularly its impact on the Black community, and we’re holding space for survivors of gun violence and Black advocates to continue to effect positive change. We are continuously working to stop gun violence through both grassroots and national channels, as we focus on and elevate the work and successes of the many Black voices who have helped progress the gun violence prevention movement and keep their communities—and the country—safe.

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