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Black Stories

Kathy Elaine McKnight: We Aren’t Taking No For an Answer

Kathy Elaine McKnight selfie

Black Resilience in the Gun Violence Prevention Movement

Black History Month means supporting the advancement of the Black community amidst the racial injustices that persist throughout the U.S. today. This month is about celebrating and honoring the legacy that Black leaders left for future generations to follow: Leaders like Harriett Tubman and Maya Angelou, who I continue to look to as pillars of resilience in the Black community.

The history of the Black community is a metanarrative of resiliency—we embody the expression of turning challenging moments into opportunities to cast new and more inclusive visions for the future.

I work to incorporate and honor this in my work every single day. I founded Bound for Better to support community partners and organizations, and to spread awareness and understanding about domestic violence and sexual assault issues in the Black community.


In Maryland, Black people are 3.4x more likely than white people to die by guns.

Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, “EveryStat for Gun Safety,” accessed February 7, 2023,


In Maryland, the rate of gun homicide increased 81% from 2011 to 2020.

Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, “EveryStat for Gun Safety,” accessed February 7, 2023,


In Maryland, Black people are 17x more likely than white people to die by gun homicide.

Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, “EveryStat for Gun Safety,” accessed February 7, 2023,

One important aspect of my work is to acknowledge that domestic violence is a “live” issue, to call it by its name, and to acknowledge that it happens. Bound for Better continually teaches me how important it is to support domestic violence survivors.

Domestic violence isn’t the only issue that harms our communities: A significant spike in gun violence has devastated cities across the country. I became involved in the gun violence prevention movement while attending a Zoom meeting for gun violence survivors, and I learned about Moms Demand Action. I saw all the different ways that people worked to save lives.

With 198 homicides, 2020 was the deadliest year in Washington, DC, since 2004—and the overwhelming majority of the victims were Black men. Black people make up over half of gun homicide victims in the United States—this does not have to be our normal. Whether it’s preventing community violence or police violence, Black leaders are working to keep their communities safe. And these leaders have inspired a new generation of activists who are young, fearless, and ready to rebuild the system. And they aren’t taking no for an answer.

I encourage everyone to get involved in the movement, and if you’re looking for a way to do the kind of important work our community needs, get in touch with your local chapter lead to find out where you can fit into the movement and best fit your skills.

Join the Everytown Survivor Network

The Survivor Network connects survivors to build community, offers trauma-informed programs and trainings, and provides information and referrals to direct services.

Learn More

Learn More About Bound for Better

While it is wise to learn from the past, we’re bound to press forward a better tomorrow. Know your worth. Through Bound for Better, founder Kathy McKnight prioritizes encouraging other women, reminding them that they are not alone.

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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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