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Black Stories

The Best Way to Make a Difference Is to Work Together and Stay Connected

I started volunteering with Moms Demand Action in 2021 and then took on the role of a Survivor Membership Lead in 2023. I decided to step into this lead role because the mission of Moms Demand Action is very near to my heart. As a survivor of gun violence, I understand how imperative it is to do everything we can to prevent gun violence in our homes, our communities, and our country. That is why I wanted to get involved with this organization’s important work—and why I continue to do so today.

I am a direct survivor of gun violence and, tragically, I also share this experience with many of my dearest and closest loved ones. This is why it is so important to me to see this gun violence stopped and for our communities to be safer in the future. 

Last year, I attended one Moms Demand Action Black Caucus group meeting. The thing that had the biggest impact on me from that experience was hearing all of the survival stories shared by members during the group breakout sessions. This was an amazing opportunity to listen and share with others impacted by gun violence in a meaningful way.

“When you build community and bring people together to talk about important things like gun violence, the impacts of those conversations are infinite.”

Sontana Johnson, volunteer with the Kansas chapter of Moms Demand Action

Seeing the progress that has been made in the gun violence prevention space, even within the last couple of years, gives me hope. The fact that my local Moms Demand Action chapter lead, Sherri Spare, invited and encouraged me to become a Survivor Membership Lead showed me how important and valuable my voice and story are within the Moms Demand Action organization. This is especially powerful to me as a Black woman who often has to fight to be heard. I’m excited to continue working with Moms Demand Action toward a safer world for my community and my people.

I think it is always important to elevate Black voices because we have been at the forefront of social and civil movements for so many years. During my time volunteering with The Poor People’s Campaign, I learned and gained so much inspiration from Bishop William Barber II. The way Bishop Barber leads by focusing on unity and bringing people together to make real change is nothing short of awe-inspiring. When you build community and bring people together to talk about important things like gun violence, the impacts of those conversations are infinite. 

It doesn’t matter who you are, what color your skin is, where you live, or how much money you make; the terrible effects of gun violence reach everywhere and everyone. That’s why addressing gun violence is so important, and we must do so through community, education, and support for one another. If we are divided and alone, we will fail, but if we stay connected and unified, we will succeed. The best way to make a difference is to work together and stay connected. 

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