A Profile of…. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Historically, Solel is known as a pathfinder congregation in many areas but — most of all —around Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) through acts of social justice and social activism. In last month’s issue of the Pathfinder, we provided an overview of all of the Social Justice and Social Action possibilities available to you at Solel. This month we highlight one — Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Recently, we spoke with Susie Mason, a member of the Solel Board of Directors and a volunteer with Moms Demand Action. The group’s work is impactful and inspirational.

Q: What is the background behind Moms Demand Action?
A: The organization was founded five years ago in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut to mobilize moms (and people of all walks of life) across the country. Moms Demand Action supports the 2nd Amendment, but believes common-sense solutions can help decrease the escalating epidemic of gun violence that kills too many of our children and loved ones — 93 people, including eight children, die every day from gun violence. The organization is a leading force for gun violence prevention, working to model safety and demand action to establish common sense gun reform. The organization is modelled after the highly successful Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Q: How widespread is the organization?
A: There are chapters in all 50 states and 4 million members nationally, including 60,000 who are highly active. Solel is associated with the North Suburban Chicago Chapter — encompassing members from Glenview north through Libertyville.

Q: How has the organization made an impact?
A: Recently, our local chapters of Moms Demand Action have made an impact by helping move the Illinois Gun Dealer Licensing Act along in Springfield. The Act would regulate gun dealers in Illinois (by requiring background checks for employees, training, security cameras, and increased accountability — meaning any new gun shop within 1,000 feet of a school or park would be prohibited).

We also fought a proposed gun store in Vernon Hills that we felt would be in an unsafe location; they withdrew their application. Plus, a proposed shooting range for Lake Forest was not approved for a liquor license — again due in part to the local chapter’s efforts.

Q: How can I get involved?
A: You can join the national movement of Moms by texting 64433 and typing JOIN. You can like our local Facebook page (Chicago North Suburbs Moms Demand Action). You can sign up for the BeSmart Campaign, which focuses on safe gun storage especially as it pertains to children (www.besmartforkids.org).

Did you know that 500,000 Americans have been victims or survivors of gun violence since Sandy Hook (December 14, 2012)? Even more urgently, you can join us at Solel the evening of December 14 at 7:00 pm (the five year anniversary of that tragedy) for a candlelight vigil. We are participating with several other groups nationwide including (but not limited to): Newtown Foundation and the Brady Campaign. Everyone is welcome.

Q: Why should I get involved?
A: In Susie Mason’s words, this gun violence situation “breaks my heart. I’m doing a little bit to make this problem better. Enough!”  Additionally, “the only way to make things happen is for every single person to get involved and it can be in a small way… for instance, contact your Congressman or woman. They work for us. If we put pressure on them, they will do something. But, we have to take action first.”

Q: Who should I contact?
A: To get involved in Moms Demand Action, contact Caryn Fliegler (who heads up the Northbrook/Glenview chapter and is a Solel congregant) at cfliegler@gmail.com or Susie Mason at susanmasonfineart@gmail.com.

The possibilities to get involved or plugged into other social justice/action Solel are overwhelming. If you’re not sure who to contact, contact Alice Kohn (VP/Social Justice—alicenkohn@gmail.com).

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