Unimaginable. The word has been used a lot in the past 24 hours to describe the horrific news that a gunman killed at least 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, TX. And it is. Photos of the students who didn’t survive — sporting shy smiles and holding honor roll certificates with tiny hands and painted fingernails — are earth-shattering to see. As are the videos of surviving students being reunited with their parents, their lives forever changed.
And while it is unimaginable, another tragedy involving gun violence isn’t surprising. Mass shootings in America have become all too commonplace — 27 school shootings have taken place so far in 2022 alone. Since the devastating massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, there have been 3,500 mass shootings, per the Gun Violence Archive. The nightmare at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, a majority Latinx city of 15,000 people occurred only 10 days after the racist attack in a Buffalo, NY supermarket, targeting Black people, which left 10 dead. One victim was a father buying his young son a birthday cake, another was a grandma of eight, and yet another was a church deacon. This incident also takes place just over a week after the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church (ITPC) shooting in California.
NEW: Third victim from #Uvalde ID’d as 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza— Kolten Parker (@KoltenParker) May 25, 2022
Her dad: “My little love is now flying high with the angels above. Please don't take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you Amerie jo. Watch over your baby brother for me.” pic.twitter.com/vIMRpjd5sK
In the wake of the news, in an emotional address, President Joe Biden asked: “Why do we keep letting this happen?... We as a nation have to ask: when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby.” He urged legislators and elected officials — who could create legislation to help prevent such tragedies by passing measures like universal background checks or an assault weapons ban (both of which Biden tried and failed to do as vice president) — to stand up to gun lobbyists and pass “common sense gun laws.”
Biden: "Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God's name is our backbone?" pic.twitter.com/gE7foelz8U— Axios (@axios) May 25, 2022
When something like this happens, there’s a strong desire to do something — anything — to help. Here are a few ways to do that as we all process this latest senseless act of gun violence.
Donate to a verified fundraiser
GoFundMe has set up a hub where you can access verified fundraisers for Uvalde families and survivors. One such fundraiser is from VictimsFirst, which is a network of families who lost loved ones and survivors of mass shootings, including in Columbine, Aurora, Parkland, Newtown, and others. There’s also a GoFundMe verified fundraisers page for the survivors and victims of the Buffalo mass shooting and the victims of the California church shooting.
Additionally, in today’s world, it’s crucial to do your research as you look for a fundraiser, as unfortunately, scams exist. VictimsFirst, for example, in their GoFundMe description, note they "started this fund to make sure that 100% of what is collected goes DIRECTLY to the victim base so the victims’ families and those wounded/injured are protected from fraud and exploitation. We do this because our own families have been re-victimized in the past by non-profits that collect funds for themselves after a mass shooting saying they will 'support' the families, which is usually the legal verbiage used when donations do not go directly to victims/survivors themselves."
If you live in Texas, the medical community is calling for blood donations. University Health, San Antonio (which is about 80 miles northeast of Uvalde) is asking for more supplies. "Your donation can help ensure we have supplies immediately available for the victims of this tragic shooting," they said in a tweet. You can also donate blood through South Texas Blood & Tissue. Earlier this year, the Red Cross declared a national blood shortage, so donating is always a good idea, no matter where you live.
Reach out to your elected officials and Congresspeople
While there are many issues that contribute to gun violence in America, many believe the government should have long ago passed legislation like H.R. 8 the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021. The bill was introduced in 2019, and is designed to expand background checks to be required for all firearm sales, and close loopholes for buying guns online and at gun shows. This bill passed in the House, but has not yet made it through the Senate. Many have hopes that a vote could happen as soon as today, May 25, but it is unlikely to make it through the Senate due to the highly contentious filibuster.
You can call officials on state, local, and federal levels to push for them to do more to prevent gun violence. Or, check out 1,000 More to track upcoming bills in the House and Senate on gun reform, and they’ll help you easily understand arguments for and against bills, and give you information about elected officials to contact about them, as well as relevant organizations to donate to if you’re for or against a bill.
Support organizations that focus on gun-violence prevention
There are lots of non-profit organizations that work to stop horrific incidents like these from happening through community engagement, pushing for better policies, and fighting for more specific gun-related issues. Here are a few organizations to look into today: