Gun Violence is a Uniquely American Problem

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un. To God, we belong and to God, we shall return.

Our hearts are broken into 22 little pieces. 

On Tuesday, May 24th, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos opened fire at Robb Elementary school with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle, killing 19 elementary school children, two teachers, and his own grandmother in the town of Uvalde, Texas. He also injured 17 others. The world continues to grapple with the reality that Uziyah Garcia, Alithia Ramirez, Amerie Jo Garza, Xavier Lopez, Annabell Rodriguez, Eliahana Torres, Jose Flores, Eliahna Garcia, Rojelio Torres, Jaliah Silguero, Jace Luevanos, Jacklyn Cazares, Makenna Elrod, Naveh Bravo, Tess Marie, Alexandria Rubio, and Layla Salazar won't be playing in the schoolyard anymore. Dedicated educators Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia won't get to impart the love and knowledge they held to their fourth graders. Their murder comes on the heels of two mass shootings in the last 10 days, Buffalo, New York on May 14th and Laguna Woods, California on May 15th. It follows 280 incidences of gun violence in the last 72 hours (Gun Violence Archive). It comes in the light of 200 mass shootings in 2020. MuslimARC prays for all victims and those affected by gun violence. As we grieve, we are praying to our Creator to ease our sorrows during this time of unimaginable loss. 


Gun Violence is a Racial Justice Issue

At MuslimARC we recognize that Gun violence is a racial justice issue. Thirteen percent of mass shootings are motivated by racial hatred.  Latinx people are twice as likely to die by gun homicide and four times as likely to be wounded by an assault with a gun as white people. The Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence reports similar figures, and includes the rate for American Indian/Alaskan Native people the rate is 3.4 times that of white people, and for Black people is 11 times. However, the total number of Latinx victims of gun violence is underreported because many government agencies do not report data on ethnic origin.  Over 90% of residents in Uvalde identify as Latino/Hispanic, many of them in mixed-status families. As a border town, heavily patrolled by ICE, they face multiple vulnerabilities for state and interpersonal violence. “The same officer involved in deportation of your family member could now be telling you your child has died…this is what systemic trauma looks like,” Thania Galvan, an incoming assistant professor at the University of Georgia’s Department of Psychology tweeted. 


In cities, the majority of gun homicides affect young Black and Latino men in historically underfunded neighborhoods. Even though Pew finds that 66% of Americans broadly support the creation of a federal database tracking all gun sales, 64% support bans on high capacity magazines and 63% support bans on assault-style weapons, we continue to have lawmakers religiously oppose any common-sense gun legislation. The disenfranchisement of Black and Latino voters also plays a role in upholding the status quo and NRA lobby.  A study in 2017 showed that support for gun control is stronger among Latinos and Blacks than among Whites “74 percent of blacks and 61 percent of Latinos, but only 55 percent of whites support an assault weapons ban.”


According to reporting from Axios, from 1999 to 2019, 40% of all deaths and 69% of all injuries in a mass shooting were caused by Semi-Automatic rifles of some sort. Yet states like Texas boast about making it easier to buy, conceal, and carry deadly weapons. This is a uniquely American problem; no other developed nation has had to lose their grandmothers and grandbabies while they’re just going about their days at grocery stores and at school. 

While the solution is incredibly complex and will take the effort of every person in our community, there are proposals that do nothing to help. Over-policing schools, increasing police budgets, and arming teachers will do nothing but put children in more danger from authority figures in their communities.  


As a human rights education organization, MuslimARC is committed to a systems change approach to addressing violence. What can we do to address the accessibility of weapons of mass destruction and firearms that target our already vulnerable communities? Below is a list of actions we can take. 

Create Communities of Care and donate directly to victims

We encourage everyone to take the time they need to process their grief and the full range of emotions. Our collective consciousness has faced generational trauma from the violence of slavery, colonialism, militarized police states,  deportations, and civilians. In times like this, we must turn to our faith as we bear witness to suffering and center healing and empowerment. We must ask ourselves what resources do our communities need to engage productively in self-care around this massacre? We can support those directly impacted through crowdfunding, to help cover burial and medical costs. We must cultivate a community of care, practice mutual aid, and participate in systems change work to address patchwork gun laws, disinvestment in mental health resources, and the culture around firearms. We must support the immediate and long term needs of impacted communities


You can also support the Uvalde community by donating to these local organizations:

  • St. Henry De Osso Family Project promotes wellness and holistic growth through family-based tutoring, parenting classes, physical activity, and emotional and spiritual development.

Support organizations doing the work to support gun violence survivors and sensible fire-arm policy.

  • Get involved with Voto Latino, a grassroots organization dedicated to educating and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters
  • The Latino Voter Project and Chispas OC are also incredible organizations trying to create progressive homes for Latinx voters 
  • Get involved with orgs like Giffords- A non-profit org dedicated to shifting culture, mobilizing voters, and changing laws all in an effort to end gun violence in America- led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
  • Support Moms Bonded By Grief- a community organization committed to providing healing practices for parents. Make donations by sending a check to the address below, or on Cashapp: $MBBG2017. P.O. Box 6061, Philadelphia, PA 19154
  • The Community Justice Action Fund is a Black and Brown-led organization committed to addressing gun violence. Donate here.
  • Texas Gun Sense is the only statewide gun violence prevention organization founded in Texas. Donate here.
  • Text ACT to 644-33 to join Everytown, which will send you ways to address gun violence based on your zip code.

Demand Action on a Federal, State, and local level 

 Join the protest organized by Houston Moms Demand, Black Lives Matter Houston, and other local organizers to rally during the convention.

Links for further reading


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