Friday, December 18, 2015
Judy Belk, CEO of CalWellness shares that she’s lost two close family members to gun violence and blogs on the foundation’s call to action.
Here in California and across the nation we are reeling from the tragic shooting last week in San Bernardino. As someone who lost two close family members to gun violence, I know too well the devastation it inflicts on families and communities. I am mourning for the victims and their loved ones.
Sadly, this senseless act of violence is not an isolated incident - it is part of a disturbing pattern of gun violence in America. Every year, 30,000 Americans lose their lives to guns. In 2015, the U.S. has seen more mass shootings than days of the year, yet that number still accounts for only one percent of all gun-related deaths. Additionally, communities of color are disproportionately impacted by gun violence every day.
We are facing an epidemic of gun violence that poses a serious threat to public health and safety - and we must act accordingly.
For nearly 25 years, Cal Wellness has taken a public health approach to preventing gun violence. We have invested in research to shed light on the factors contributing to gun violence and find solutions that work. Our work represents one of the largest commitments of private philanthropic dollars to violence prevention in the U.S., totaling more than $130 million since 1992. Many of these dollars have funded a dedicated group of nonprofit partners, working tirelessly on the front lines, year in and year out - not only at times like this, when the issue dominates the headlines, but also long after many turn their attention to other issues. They truly inspire us.