“Making the decision to have a child — it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  – Elizabeth Stone

My son Colin was 6 weeks old when we went to look at daycares. As we approached the door, I saw a sign that said firearms are not allowed inside the facility. I asked the daycare’s director if guns were an issue here, and was told it’s New York State law to post that sign. My heart sank at the reality of the world I was sending my child into.

I didn’t grow up in a world of school shootings. At the time of the Columbine shooting, I was in college. I remember the absolute shock that someone would bring a gun into a school. An entire generation has grown up with routine active shooter drills. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, there have been 55 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2022. It’s only May.

To become a mother is to make a promise to your children: to keep them safe. After the shooting in Parkland that left 17 people dead, I decided enough was enough. Gun violence is now the leading cause of death in children and adolescents. Our kids are only as safe as their surroundings. The thought of one day sending my child to school and never seeing him again terrified me, and motivated me to attend my first local Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America meeting. After the meeting, I introduced myself to the volunteers who lead the group. I told them I would love to help with any graphic design needs they may have. Next thing I knew, I was knocking on doors for candidates who had gun violence on the forefront of their agenda. All that work paid off. We won a gun sense majority in New York and a week later, I gave birth to my son Garrett.

Being a mom is at the heart of my activism. When I went up to Albany for Lobby Day, I was pumping between meetings with elected officials asking them to support sensible gun legislation. A Zoom call to organize and mobilize wouldn’t be a call without stopping to say hello to the kids who want to be on mama’s lap. I have met the most incredible group of women doing this work. We have become a family. We bring our kids to events and rallies so they can play together while we work. We support one another through hard times, and are the ultimate hype women if one of us doubts what we are capable of.

This Mother’s Day, I celebrate my fellow Moms. I also hold a space for the mothers I have met who have lost a child to this epidemic. For Shenee, to remember her son Kedrick; for Indiana, to remember her son Malik; for Linda, to remember her son Scott; for Jacqueline, to remember her daughter Kyra; for Stephanie, to remember her son Andre; for any mother whose child was taken from them by gun violence. Their memories will forever live on because their mothers have turned their unspeakable pain into power. These women endlessly inspire me to keep going. 

We don’t have to live like this. We don’t have to die like this. Text READY to 64433 to join the millions of mothers and others who are fighting back against the gun lobby’s dangerous agenda.